After Diamond Sports Group informed the San Diego Padres it was neglecting to pay the fee for the local broadcast rights, Major League Baseball has officially taken control of local broadcasts for the team. Games will continue to be made available on linear television providers, but will also be available to stream on MLB.TV. Fans in the team’s home market can subscribe to MLB.TV for $19.99 a month or pay $74.99 for the remainder of the season.
On Wednesday, San Diego Padres chief executive officer Erik Greupner joined Ben & Woods on 97.3 The Fan to inform consumers what the process has entailed over the last several months. He said Diamond Sports Group had a two-week grace period to submit their rights payment, but he received a call from company CEO David Preshlack saying that wasn’t going to happen.
“We’ve been working for months with Major League Baseball, [and] we’d already been sort of through a fire drill once or twice before,” Greupner said. “I think we’re as prepared as we can be. It’s never easy to make these sorts of changes in-season. We’re trying to do our very best to communicate with our fans, but the bottom line is this is a really good development for fans.”
The move could be indicative of things to come, as the league is looking to end local blackouts and expedite its own direct-to-consumer streaming option by reacquiring broadcast rights as the deals expire.
“I was in a full-blown panic last night [and was] almost on the phone with Cox because I’m a Cox subscriber,” show co-host Steve Woods said. “It’s convenient – my Cox is there; it’s ready; it’s waiting. I turn on Cox. I’m good to go and there’s my Padres on Bally – I’m good. As we know, things have changed, and I don’t like to change. I don’t like change at all. I’ll do it if I have to, but I really am the guy that needs his hand held.”
Major League Baseball hired Billy Chambers to become its first executive vice president of local media. He brings over 20 years of experience to the role, largely in senior finance roles with FOX Sports and Sinclair Broadcast Group, and has been tasked with overseeing media rights distribution and local management.
The Padres’ new broadcast arrangement augments the reach of games by 189% and gives fans multiple options to keep up with the team. Greupner expressed how fans have been asking for the ability to stream games in the market without blackouts. Moreover, some locations where fans are bound by blackout restrictions because of exclusive local rights do not even have regional sports networks distributed to them, leaving them entirely in the dark.
“This move, we anticipate, is going to be the last move that we have to make for quite some time as far as the eye can see,” Greupner revealed. “Under the direction and leadership of the Commissioner [and] what MLB is doing – and we happen to be the first team that’s making the move – but they are stepping in and replacing what has become a broken RSN model.”
Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is in active litigation with the league after refusing to pay the full amount of rights fees to other teams. The entity stated it had sufficient funding in liquidity and would agree to do so in exchange for valuable direct-to-consumer streaming rights, something the league quickly shot down.
“It’ll take you a day or two to get used to turning the Padres to a different channel on your cable,” show co-host Ben Higgins said. “If you were getting the Padres before, you will be getting the Padres starting today as well – just not on Bally Sports San Diego anymore.”
92.9 The Game Enjoys Ratings Growth in Atlanta Summer Book
In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), the station finished 2nd overall with a 6.8 share.
The summer ratings book is out in Atlanta, and 92.9 The Game once again turned in a strong quarterly performance with Men 25-54.
In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p), the station finished 2nd overall with a 6.8 share for the book. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid), the station remained 2nd with a 5.6 share.
Looking at the weekday shows, in mornings, the summer book represented the second ratings period for the station’s show helmed by Tiffany Blackmon, Mike Johnson, and Beau Morgan. The Morning Shift saw a slight drop from its first book, finishing with a 7.1 share for the quarter. That figure was an 8.4 share in the spring book. Nonetheless, the program remained in a strong position, 2nd overall in the market.
In middays, the station had a pair of shows finish 2nd, with The Steakhouse — featuring Steak Shapiro and Sandra Golden –enjoying an uptick from a 6.9 in the spring to an 8.1 in the summer. Shapiro and Golden are heard weekdays on the station from 9a-11a.
Additionally, middays with Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael generated a 7.1 share, which was one tenth of a point off from its spring book. Similar to The Morning Shift and The Steakhouse, Bunker and McMichael secured 2nd place in their time slow.
The venerable 92.9 The Game afternoon duo of Carl Dukes and Mike Bell, which airs from 2p-7p, saw a slight dip this quarter to finish with a 6.6 share, good for 3rd in the market. In the spring book, Dukes & Bell were 2nd with a 6.9 share.
Ratings information for 680 The Fan was not made available for the summer book.
Jon Ritchie: Joe DeCamara Deserves Credit from ESPN For Idea That Turned Phillies Season Around
Earlier this year, 94 WIP producer Jack Fritz received acclaim for sharing an idea that Philadelphia fans should give struggling shortstop Trea Turner a standing ovation. Morning host Jon Ritchie believes his partner, Joe DeCamara isn’t getting the credit he deserves.
During DeCamara and Ritchie Wednesday morning, the former NFL star argued that ESPN’s Karl Ravech got the story wrong in its retelling during the Phillies National League Wild Card Game Tuesday.
“This is good stuff. Last night during the during the broadcast, I started getting texts and tweets about this, but didn’t hear it live because I was at the game,” DeCamara said. “But during the broadcast, Karl Ravech and David Cone talked about what Fritz did and the Trea Turner thing.”
The show then played the clip of Ravech and Cone talking about Fritz’s idea of giving the standing ovation and how it helped turn Turner’s season around. Ritchie jokingly took issue with the fact that it was actually DeCamara’s idea.
“I guess (Fritz) did do the organizing, that is true, but the idea was hatched by Joe DeCamara on our show,” said Ritchie. “This was Joe’s idea. He hatched it. Let’s give him some credit here, and if Jack Fritz is gonna get a ring, why doesn’t Joe DeCamara?”
DeCarama joked Jon Ritchie just “wants to cause trouble”, before his co-host pushed him to say it was his idea.
“If I say yes, I seem like a bad guy. If I say no, I’m lying. So I will say no,” DeCamara said slyly.
Last week, during an appearance on the station, Turner thanked afternoon hosts Jon Marks and Ike Reese for helping turn around his year.
“Obviously, the whole thing happened and the rest is kind of history. Started playing a lot better and it was thanks to you guys and the crowd,” the Phillies star said.
98.5 The Sports Hub Delivers Strong Summer Ratings But WEEI’s ‘Greg Hill Show’ Closes The Gap in Mornings
“98.5 The Sports Hub remained the top overall station in the summer book but WEEI’s Greg Hill Show made up significant ground in morning drive.”
Boston has long been one of the hottest sports radio markets in America. With the latest summer ratings period now closed, we know it is also one of the most competitive between 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI.
In morning drive, Toucher & Rich still topped the market with an impressive 15.1 share. That rating is one that most shows would gladly take but after producing a massive 24.3 share last Summer, maintaining that performance was going to be a tall order. Though the show was 1st with a strong number, a decline of more than 9 shares year over year has to get the attention of the morning show and the management team. If anyone can rebound though and regain that past performance, T&R have shown they can.
Scott Zolak and Marc “Beetle” Bertrand continued to earn the number one spot in middays, garnering a 14.6 share for The Hub. That number was also down year-over-year but not as much as mornings. Zo and Bertrand turned in an 18.1 share in the 2022 Summer book.
Felger & Mazz — hosted by Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti — remains the best-performing show in Boston. The afternoon show held a 17.2 share to finish 1st in their time slot. The show did drop from a 19.7 share last summer but remains comfortably ahead of any market competition.
In weekday prime ratings, 98.5 The Sports Hub remained the top overall station with a 15.3 share. That number was down 25% year-over-year when it held a 20.4 share.
Meanwhile, WEEI rose more than 34% in weekday prime to a 7.4 share, up from a 5.5 in the same book a year ago. That placed them 3rd for the book.
WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show was the station’s biggest winner, more than doubling its share year over year. Hill’s program ranked 2nd with an 11.6 share this summer compared to a 5.2, 7th place finish last year. Only 3.5 shares now separate Hill from Toucher & Rich.
The midday pairing of Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria saw a slight increase for WEEI this quarter, moving to a 7.0 share. That figure was up from 6.3 last year. They were ranked 4th overall this quarter.
The afternoon pairing of Adam Jones, Meghan Ottolini, and Christian Arcand saw a noticeable drop, garnering a 3.9 share during the summer book. That put them in an 8th place tie during the summer book. Last year, WEEI’s afternoon show of Lou Merloni, Fauria, and Ottolini saw a 6.0 share in afternoon drive.
All numbers reported above are for sports radio’s target demographic of Men 25-54. The Hub did also have strong stories with Men 18-34 (1st for the full week, 2nd in prime), Persons 25-54 (1st for the full week, 3rd in prime), and Men 18-49 (1st for the full week, 1st in prime).