The time has come for the NFL to seriously re-consider their "secondary market" telecast policy, at least for the final three weeks of the regular season. This week's example of why comes from Los Angeles, the nation's #2 television market, which is still considered a "secondary market" for San Diego Chargers telecasts.
The Chargers, a long shot to make it to the post-season, sold out their home game against the 4-10 Oakland Raiders for this coming Sunday (12/22) earlier this week. As a result, KCBS-TV Los Angeles viewers are, well, stuck, with that game instead of the Baltimore vs. New England telecast. The Ravens vs. Patriots game was moved by CBS to the doubleheader spot due to the playoff implications it has.
One would think that with all of the dollars the TV networks pay to the NFL for the rights to televise that those networks would have a bigger say in getting the "best available" games to the viewers in every market.
Of course, the NFL is busy concentrating on generating even more TV dollars starting in the next two years. The league is expected to decide well before its 2014 season begins on splitting off an additional Thursday night games package, leaving fewer telecasts exclusive to NFL Network.
Obviously, a new deal, perhaps with Turner Sports, isn't going to come cheap. And, the NFL continues to work with DirecTV about the satellite service retaining the Sunday Ticket package, which is currently scheduled to end in 2014. The current package is valued at almost $1 billion, and, again, it's not like the cost will be reduced.
NEW YORK: It has become official that YES Network will end its nearly 10 years of simulcasting some or all of Mike Francesa's WFAN Radio show on weekday afternoons. In a bizarre coincidence, the final simulcast is scheduled for Friday Jan. 31st, which is the final weekday leading into Super Bowl weekend with the big game being staged only minutes away from WFAN's studios. This relationship goes back to the days of "Mike and the Mad Dog". YES Network plans to 'replace' the simulcast with live sports talk related programming, leading to easy speculation that it will pick up WEPN-FM ESPN 98.7 and the Michael Kay Show.
Kay and YES Network seem to be an obvious fit, given that Kay is the TV play-by-play voice for most Yankees telecasts.
Either way, YES would have a Yankees flavor with its simulcast, since WFAN becomes the flagship radio home of the Yankees in a few weeks.
ATLANTA: Steven "Steak" Shapiro moves back over to The Fan 680 during the first week of January. Shapiro had originally moved to Atlanta, from Boston, back in 1994 to be part of the morning show on The Fan when it made its debut, lasting about nine months. "Steak" will handle the 9 AM to Noon "The Front Row" show along with Brian Finneran and Sandra Golden.
CHARLOTTE: WZGV ESPN 730 has a new evening co-host who is new to full-time sports talk, but is certainly not new to the market. Al Gardner, who is well known for "Charlotte's Morning News" on WBT AM/FM for the past 14 years, started this past Monday night (12/16) in his new role.