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Baseball Seeks to Put Good Face on Impact of Deal on Radio

Baseball Seeks to Put Good Face on Impact of Deal on Radio

Baseball and radio have a long history; beyond the nostalgia angle of listening to the home team on a home-city AM station, terrestrial organizations have paid a lot of money over the years for the rights to air MLB games.

Asked if baseball expects terrestrial radio broadcasters to rebel in their future rights negotiations, Selig said, “We don’t think this will be competitive. This will complement the local broadcast.”

Those organizations now carrying local baseball are unlikely to be happy with the prospect of a new national competitor for their listeners. However, Selig and Panero sought to paint the impact on radio in a positive light. They said they’re trying to attract out-of-town listeners to the satellite radio games. Unlike Sirius, which has two feeds of each NFL game it airs, XM will use one feed – the local feed, complete with local announcers and local ads.

“The radio rights-holder ends up getting more listeners,” said Selig. Presumably those stations then would charge more for those ads, one radio observer said.

XM and MLB are discussing creation of content to air before and after the games so that XM could sell national ads for those portions of the broadcast. Panero said revenue would be split 50-50 with MLB.

Panero said if it gets about 700,000 subscribers as a result of this deal, as it gained in the last quarter, it would generate enough cash to cover its expenses.

Sirius paid $220 million for the satellite radio rights to the NFL games.

Although not naming Sirius, Selig acknowledged another company had been vying for the baseball contract.