The network has acquired the out-of-market radio rights from five NFL teams: the Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Steelers and Dolphins
It marks the first time in its history that one of the platforms under the ESPN umbrella will broadcast Sunday afternoon NFL games. It is still yet to be determined who will assume play-by-play duties, but the radio network, which plans on producing “one to two games a week,” announced that analysts Bill Polian, Herm Edwards and Damien Woody will be involved in some capacity.
“Adding the NFL to ESPN Radio’s play-by-play mix, which already includes MLB, NBA, BCS, and the new college football championship starting in 2015, strengthens an already unparalleled and valuable lineup to advertisers, our affiliates and sports fans,” said Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions. “We are excited to enter the NFL game business.”
The new deal, however, will not affect the Dolphins local radio network, which will continue to carry games on 940-WINZ and 105.9 FM in South Florida. ESPN will also not be allowed to broadcast games that would potentially compete with an individual team’s broadcast.
“We cannot air in a market where there is an existing game in that market,” Tim McCarthy, ESPN’s senior vice president and general manager of audio programming and on-air talent planning, told the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand. “If the Redskins are playing in Washington at 1 p.m., and we have a 4 p.m. game, we can air at 4 p.m. We can’t air at 1 p.m. It’s kind of a gentleman’s agreement. We’re not going to go head-to-head with an existing NFL club.”
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