ESPN Radio Deal Takes USC National

ESPN Radio Deal Takes USC National

Below is a news summary by Adam Witt, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.

(from Sports Business Journal, April 16th, 2012) ESPN recently decided to make USC the second university to land a national radio deal for its football program. All of the Trojans home games will be broadcast over ESPN radio and a multi-year deal within the mid six figures total. The agreement between both sides marks the first time that ESPN has become a national radio partner for a college football team; Notre Dame being the only other one with this type of deal. ESPN has hinted that they will continue to seek other deals with schools and conferences in the future. Tim McCarthy, Senior Vice President of ESPN Radio’s Play-By-Play and Talent Planning said, “We will continue to hopefully grow in the college space. Live play-by-play programming is unique programming that you can’t get anywhere else. We want to get deeper into this space.”

The plan is for ESPN to sell the games to the local stations in the USC area that are ESPN affiliates. If these affiliates decide to take the offer, then ESPN will begin to offer local radio stations that are not affiliates of ESPN to buy the games. Part of the deal with USC is that ESPN has decided to produce three different telecasts. The first will be heard locally on ESPN’s flagship station in Los Angeles. The second will be produced for a national audience that ESPN will sell across the country to all of its affiliate radio stations, and the last one will be heard in Spanish.

Not only is this deal an important way for USC football to be heard more often for different audiences across the country, but it is also gives USC’s brand a national platform. “It’s a decent chunk of revenue, but that’s not the real story,” states Dan Shell, Vice President and General Manager of USC Sports Properties. “The story is about USC’s brand. This deal is one small sign of the brand power that it has nationally.”