Yanks-Red Sox Game 7, it's what Major League Baseball has wanted all season. On the day the two storied franchises square off, MLB and XM Satellite Radio have announced a $650 million broadcast and marketing agreement as XM becomes the the official satellite radio network of MLB and begin broadcasts in 2005.
XM will also create a Major League Baseball channel featuring original content and classic Major League Baseball game broadcasts. As Major League Baseball enjoys strong support from its Hispanic fan base, XM also will broadcast select games in Spanish. As the official satellite radio network of Major League Baseball, XM will have rights to use the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter logo and the marks of the 30 MLB Clubs
"This is the crown jewel -- the deal that we've been waiting for," said XM CEO Hugh Panero. "Major League Baseball is America's national pastime and a natural fit with XM, the national leader in satellite radio. MLB has the broadest appeal of any major sport. People of all ages are baseball fans, from children to grandparents. Baseball is also a sport ideally suited for radio, given its natural pace and the ability to vividly describe each play."
"This agreement between Major League Baseball and XM Satellite Radio is a significant step forward in providing baseball fans greater access to more games in more locations," said Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. "This is a wonderful opportunity for Major League Baseball given XM's ever-increasing national availability. Our fans will be able to listen to the local broadcasts of their favorite teams from anywhere in the country. This partnership will add to the continuing growth and popularity of our game. It is a further example of the renaissance that exists in baseball today."
Addressing concerns over how the deal will effect terrestrial broadcasts, MLB EVP, Business Tim Brosnan explained that XM will be using a "dirty feed," a method in which the satcaster will be rebroadcasting an entire terrestrial station's feed, including local announcers and commercials. "The [terrestrial] radio rights holder is getting more listeners and advertisers are getting more listeners," said Brosnan. He also pointed out that the target of this deal are the "enormous number of displaced fans who want to track their teams."
"If you are a local fan that's been accustomed to listening to your local radio station, my suspicion is that you are going to continue to do that," said Brosnan. "It's the out of market, of which we have an enormous number of displaced fans, who want to track their teams. We think the great bulk of people that are going to be pursuing this service are going to come from that kind of marketplace."
"Baseball has enormous appeal, not only to its millions of fans, but to automobile manufacturers as well, which will help further strengthen XM's leadership position in the automotive market," added Panero.MLB is the last of the four major sports leagues to cut a deal with either satellite radio service. Sirius Satellite Radio currently has rights to the NFL, NBA and, if the season ever starts, also the NHL.