January 02, 2007

Will the Fan lose the Mets in '08?

Ray Stilwell at Shea Baseball, writes about the Mets, WFAN and how their contract is up in 2008:

Guess how much longer Infinity's deal with the Mets has to run? Through 2008, that's how long.

With terrestrial radio taking major beatings in defections to satellite radio, the Internet and the iPod, budgets are getting tight and formats even tighter. A prime product like the Mets may be just the sort of thing some borderline-rated FM outlet would try to build an entire format around, nobody caring what the loss of a 50,000-watt nighttime signal would mean to fans.

It's also disturbing to see the other trends that go with these moves. These Johnny-come-WLAT-ly stations are paying such bagfuls of money for the rights to sports teams, they expect additional bangs for their additional bucks. Usually that means the "flagship" gets exclusives on player shows, highlight packages and sometimes even post-game interviews. Many of those times, there are also announcer changes which must follow, as well, because the "voice of the [insert team name here]" is on the Entercom roster when Citadel bought the rights. I'd hate to see that mean the end of hearing voices that have come to mean so much, to us or anyone else.

Good news does exist, however. Earlier this month, the Yankees and WCBS-AM (an Infinity radio station) renewed their contract, continuing the tradition of said radio station acting as the Yankees' flagship station. Perhaps this means that, in New York, CBS sees baseball as a valuable commodity. Let's hope so, because I can't imagine the Mets anywhere but the FAN.

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