Boston continues to be the big leader in sports radio listenership around the country, which makes WEEI extending its Red Sox play-by-play contract for seven additional seasons an even bigger deal in its battle against WBZ-FM Sports Hub.
WEEI, which has aired the Red Sox since 1995, now retains the rights through the 2023 season. This season is the 33rd for Joe Castiglione calling the games.
The parent company, Entercom, likes having baseball so much that it coincidentally secured the radio rights to the San Diego Padres starting next year, entering a five-year agreement. What makes this move even more shocking is that the games will air on KBZT 94.9, which is expected to remain under its alternative rock music format.
This gives Entercom the ability to further gauge the music format until next March. What makes this even more curious is that the Padres had the option to remain on (current flagship) XEPRS Mighty 1090 through the 2017 season but declined in favor of this new five year deal. Since the team is off to another poor start this season, they probably preferred to be locked in longer term to a radio deal.
A key factor for KBZT is that the majority of weekday road games begin airing during afternoon drive, which would take away an important daypart for a music station. This is much different than an east coast station doing this when the majority of the games air during the night hours.
Keep in mind that the NFL Chargers are not definite to remain in San Diego long term, as they are rumored to be looking to relocate slightly north to the L.A. area. If that happens, the Padres become the only major pro team in town. We can clearly see what Entercom wanted to lock them up.
The shuffle continues as ESPN. After also losing MLB analyst Curt Schilling last week, this week brings the departure of football analyst Robert Smith who had been with ESPN since 2005.
Smith has already joined Fox Sports and will be a studio analyst for Big Ten Network and Fox Sports college football telecasts starting in August.
It still won't be easy to find the national radio broadcast of the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals (at least without satellite radio), as NBC Sports Radio will once again air the games. Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti will call the games for those that can find them.
Even with no Canadian teams still alive in the NHL Playoffs, and this is only the second round, the NHL continues to rule the ratings roost in Canada. This past weekend had national TV coverage of the Toronto Raptors Game 7 vs. Indiana in the NBA Playoffs, the Blue Jays vs. Tampa MLB games, and the NHL draft lottery. Which do you think drew the biggest audience?
The Raptors win over the Pacers finished as the most watched Raptors game EVER in Canada with an average of 1.53 million viewers. The Saturday Blue Jays vs. Rays game averaged 1.1 million viewers.
And the NHL coverage? The 2nd round telecasts of the Pittsburgh vs. Washington series are, so far, averaging about 1.5 million viewers. And, Saturday's (4/30) NHL Draft Lottery telecast averaged, are you ready, 1.57 million viewers, the most viewers of any of these.
KANSAS CITY: Interesting concept from KCSP 610 Sports Radio following the Chief's drafting of Tyreek Hill who had earlier pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge. Co-hosts Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison launched a fund raising page for a local center for domestic abuse victims via GoFundMe.com. The pair was critical of the selection, and decided on the air to do something about it. To their credit, more than $7,000 in donations were generated within the first eight hours of its existence.
NASHVILLE: It seems that both sides did not agree on the reason for the firing of Dan Phillips from his sports anchor role at WZTV Channel 17 last week.
Word is that the station was upset when WZTV reporter Meagan O'Halloran, conducting a live broadcast only on Facebook, went into Phillips' office to have him pull a listener question out of a fishbowl when Phillips went into a profanity filled tirade which went out live.
Phillips, however, claimed, on Facebook of all places, that he was dismissed because of what turned out to be his final sportscast being filled with Prince references following the performer's untimely death.
SYRACUSE: WTLA 1200 and 97.7 have added Dan D'Uva to their weekday lineup from 2 to 4 PM. D'Uva continues as play-by-play voice for the Syracuse Crunch minor league hockey team.
DOTHAN AL: Sister stations WULA 1240 and WYDK 97.9 are changing music formats this month but will continue their play-by-play affiliations. WULA will air Auburn football and basketball as well as most NASCAR broadcasts. WYDK will air University of Alabama football, along with some of their basketball games, plus originate some local high school game broadcasts.