CBS Corp. has created CBS Sports Radio, a new 24/7 national network produced with programming from CBS Radio and CBS Sports. The broadcaster says it will be the largest sports radio network in the country.
In an unusual move, the broadcaster will partner with Cumulus to sell and distribute the new sports network through Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus will also make CBS Sports Radio programming available on 67 Cumulus-owned stations.
CBS executives called the move the next step in its evolution to serve the ever-expanding audience of sports fans.
The new talk network is designed to enhance the reach of CBS Sports and CBS Radio brands, as well as its properties like WFAN(AM), New York, WSCR(AM), Chicago, WIP(FM), Philadelphia, WBZ(FM), Boston and WXYT(FM), Detroit, among others.
CBS Radio President/CEO Dan Mason called the move a chance to successfully complement the broadcasters’ existing businesses “while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.”
At launch, the new network will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets, with an estimated cumulative reach of nearly 10 million potential listeners, CBS believes.
CBS Sports updates will be heard on all affiliates beginning this September and the actual network launches in January 2013.
Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said in a note to clients that while ESPN current dominates the sports radio market, CBS’ new network could gain significant market share as early as 2013. She also notes the network will not carry live sporting events, keeping its costs low.