Thursday, September 26, 2013

SportsHub adds more play-by-play action with acquiring Celtics radio rights

The game of musical sports teams takes another turn for two radio rivals - WBZ/98.5 The SportsHub and WEEI/Sports Radio 93.7.

More important, we may not know for several months whether the latest shuffle will benefit current leader SportsHub 98.5 and extend its lead over the long-established WEEI or close the gap between the two stations in the lucrative sports-radio market. The SportsHub is betting a fair amount of CBS Radio's money that it will be with the former.

Earlier this evening, CBS Radio Boston and NBA's Boston Celtics finally announced that the city's historic basketball franchise will move its games to 98.5 The SportsHub starting this season. The station already serves as the home of NHL's Boston Bruins, NFL's New England Patriots and MLS' New England Revolution. In the event of game time conflicts with the Bruins or the Patriots, about two dozen Celtics games will be heard on classic rocker WZLX 100.7. 

Entercom's WEEI which decided not to bring back the rebuilding Celtics last month(BRW 8/21) still has the biggest sports ticket in the market - the Boston Red Sox - locked up for three more seasons. WEEI obviously felt comfortable enough to pass on the C's rights while seeing bigger potential of generating stronger ratings and larger revenue from running talk shows at night instead of basketball games. WEEI is also tightly aligned with the Patriots via team-licensed access to content programming on Mondays, Fridays and GameDay during NFL season. Plus, WEEI is the local home of the biggest sports brand in America - NFL. WEEI has local radio rights to NFL's MNF, TNF, SNF and all playoffs thru Super Bowl.

As for the new home of the Green, like most major sports radio operators, CBS sees carrying the play-by-play of a popular team as a way to get a station on the Celtics fans' radar and build on thru exposure and brand awareness as the Celtics flagship.

From a radio observer's view this raises the question of which is more desirable for a radio station: a team that's better and has more fans(right now, Patriots and Bruins) or a rebuilding team with more history and tradition(Celtics).

Other questions: What will be the impact on WEEI's ratings without winter team's play-by-play? Will SportsHub's ratings dip if the Celtics have, as widely expected, a very mediocre season?

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook :

TOP DOGS:  Speaking of local CBS stations, WBZ 1030 was named News/Talk Station of the Year and WZLX 1007 was cited as Rock Station of the Year at last week's prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters which were held in Orlando. This is WBZ's fifth Marconi award.

Who killed WBCN? : WZLX 100.7's music director, midday personality and host of Sunday Morning Blues, Carter Alan is the author of a new book, "Radio Free Boston," that details the rise and fall of longtime dominant, WBCN. "As it turns out, radio ratings king Howard Stern was the man who killed WBCN," according to The Boston Herald. “Howard Stern made a lot of money for a lot of stations and gave ’BCN huge ratings,” Alan said. “But ultimately, the addition of Stern in the morning created a schizophrenic station. People tuned in in the morning to hear Howard, then they were gone ... BCN became the Howard Stern Station, a music station, then a football station and it was very difficult to determine what ’BCN was.” Alan adds: “Not only did we introduce a new kind of radio, we were like the Facebook or the Internet of the times,” Alan said. “If you wanted to find out what was happening, you wanted to be with it, you’d go to ’BCN ... When Stern eventually left CBS to go to satellite radio, ’BCN’s fate was sealed. Alan, who worked at 'BCN for19 years before going to sister station WZLX in 1998.


Anonymous said...

i read that article last week, and it's soooo dumb...the idea that Stern 'killed' WBCN is ludicrous-Infinity and then Clear Channel were interested in the MONSTER ratings and revenues Howard had, certainly not the local-only 'Big Mattress' morning show....i listened to CL and the rest on 'BCN after i moved here in 1985, and even when Stern came to town, he was on at night, so Charles still had the a.m. commute anyway, but tastes change, habits change, and unfortunately, the numbers Howard had obviously meant more than tradition, and after all, it IS a business, right? All the great memories don't pay the bills and the salaries of the staff either......

i check this blog almost every day! jim

Anonymous said...

Greg Strassell killed WBCN

Anonymous said...

The clear and obvious truth is that Odipeus killed BCN with the insanely stupid decision to blow up 25 years of rock heritage and embrace alternative rock when that genre was peaking in the early 90's. They lost half their fans at that point, and then he embrace the dance-club alt sound over the most tradition Staind/Godsmack sound that AAF embraced. These two moved rendered BCN dead long before Strassell was involved. He pulled the plug on a brain dead corpse.

Anonymous said...

Dwayne Ingalls Glasscock killed WBCN, at the behest of evil sister station WZLX. Howard Stern was a smokescreen. Kathryn Lauren and Albert O tried in vain to save the Rock, as perhaps did Carter Alan.

So many memories of BCN from my growing-up years.

DanZee said...

I agree with the comment that Oedipus killed WBCN. He saw his competition as WAAF and went alt rock. I couldn't listen to the station anymore. I only listened to BCN for Stern. The first song played after Stern got off usually turned me right off!

Shirley Márquez Dúlcey said...

Nirvana killed WBCN. The rise of alternative rock marked the day when WBCN stopped being culturally relevant and the torch passed to WFNX. Despite the anemic ratings, FNX was the voice that was shaping the rock culture, not BCN. Oedipus tried to return WBCN to relevance with the shift to alternative but failed.