Friday, July 07, 2006

Nats Talking to Red Zebra; XM Ponders Soccer Channel's Future

Jim Williams: Nats opt out, XM nears soccer limbo
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Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jul 7, 2006 5:00 AM (2 hrs 35 mins ago)
Current rank: # 8 of 14,818 articles

WASHINGTON - Whether you are a Nationals die-hard or soccer fanatic, your listening choices could be in line for a shakeup.


The Nationals have opted out of their deal with WTWP. D.C.-based XM Radio, having created a long-needed outlet for soccer fans, is unsure what is going to happen to its increases soccer programming after Sunday’s World Cup Final.



Let’s take the Nationals first

They had an out in their contract with WTWP that allows them to shop around for a better deal starting in 2007. The Nationals will be on WTWP for the rest of this season. Next year is anyone’s guess.

Nationals President Stan Kasten told me several weeks ago he wanted to improve the team’s radio deal. He felt the Nationals could get more money, a larger network and year-round baseball talk. Kasten will now talk with everyone, including but not limited to WTEM-AM, WMAL-AM, WTWP-AM, WJFK-FM and Red Zebra.

Word has it Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra would love to snag the Nationals to boast Washington’s two highest-profile franchises. Also, you could see a creative marketing plan that would allow for Nationals tickets and merchandise to be sold in Redskins stores throughout the area.

Let me put this way: No one in Washington can offer the Nationals a better deal money-wise, marketing-wise or network-wise than Red Zebra. Does that mean the Nationals will wear stripes? No, but it puts Red Zebra in the driver’s seat.



As for XM …

For more than a month, soccer fans have kept the lights flashing and phone lines burning at XM from 6 a.m. — when “World Cup This Morning” with Bill McDermott and Judah Cooks begin the day’s soccer talk — until 11 p.m., when Dave Ungrady and the “World Cup Tonight” crew take the final call of the night.

The bottom line is XM has done such a wonderful job that soccer fans do not want these channels to go away when the World Cup ends.

Let’s hope that XM keeps the soccer channels alive.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.
Examiner

1 comment:

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