It would not be an exaggeration to say the Red Sox would’ve been no worse off last night had they given the ball to Jose Lima. Whether David Wells’ age or weight are relevant in this instance, I can’t say for sure. But he performed miserable at Pawtucket several days ago and short of Danny Graves circa 2005 (whom the 2006 Danny Graves closely resembled when grooving one to Richie Sexson tonight) this was as close to putting it on a tee as it gets. Except a ball hit off a tee wouldn’t travel nearly as far.
With WEEI and WBOS battling for the Red Sox radio rights, the Boston Globe’s Sasha Talcott reports the club will command a near-record fee.
The Sox are likely to earn at least $12 million a year — nearly as much as the $13 million paid annually to the Atlanta Braves, and more than the New York Yankees’ current $10 million deal, though that is expiring this year.
Play-by-play radio consultant Bob Snyder has one word to describe the current radio rights environment: horrible.
”For every profitable radio rights play-by-play deal, there are probably 10 that are not,” said Snyder, who owns Beason Broadcast Partners outside Chicago. Across all sports leagues, the soaring rights fees paid to teams over the last decade have caught up to the radio stations, and many are now drawing the line. The stations’ financial losses ”used to be a justifiable expense,” he said. Now, he said the losses have gotten so large that ”it’s no longer justifiable.”
In addition, local radio stations’ traditional monopolies are fragmenting with the rise of satellite radio, cellphone downloads, and the Internet. Corporations are allocating their advertising dollars over more types of media, leaving less money for local radio.
The Boston radio market is facing all these challenges as well, but the Red Sox appear immune to them. The Sox’s proposed radio deals go beyond the annual payments of $12 million or more: If the team signs with WBOS, it could take a 25 percent ownership stake in the station, allowing the Sox to share in the upside if the station does well.
Meanwhile, Entercom Communications Corp., which owns WEEI, has upped the ante. It put in a counteroffer after the Globe published a story detailing the WBOS negotiations last month. The details of the proposal are not available, but Entercom previously has offered to let the Sox buy up to 10 percent of stations in the team’s radio network, excluding flagship WEEI, and would likely increase its equity offer to remain competitive. At one point, Entercom offered to move the Sox to another Boston station, WRKO, which Entercom also owns.