The New York Mets have found a new radio home — WOR 710 AM.
The 50,000-watt station is nearing an agreement with the Mets on a multiyear deal, according to industry sources.
Howie Rose is expected to remain the primary voice of the Mets.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, along with WOR, operates five FM stations in the market: Z100, KTU, Power 105.1, Lite FM 106.7 and Q104.
Although WOR has a news format throughout the day, the Mets will benefit from promotion on the five FM stations — for instance David Wright and other Mets players potentially appearing on Z100. The Mets also should expect Jingle Ball-type concerts at Citi Field during the summer.
Clear Channel has no other professional sports programming in the New York market, but has the radio rights in several other MLB cities.
The Mets needed to find a new partner after WFAN opted to switch to carrying Yankees games for the 2014 season.
Surprisingly, the Mets on WFAN averaged more listeners per game than the Yankees on WCBS-AM. In 2011, the Mets averaged 303,500 listeners per game. The Yankees averaged 301,000. In 2012, the Mets averaged 283,200 listeners per game. The Yankees averaged 240,000. Up to this point in the 2013 season the Mets are averaging 212,100 listeners per game. The Yankees are averaging 206,300.
WFAN was paying the Mets between $6 million-$7 million per year. This means their rights can be purchased at a reasonable price. This for a team loaded with young arms.
If money is spent on a couple of position players a case can be made that the Mets are not far away from becoming the market’s more desirable baseball product.
And considering the money ESPN spends on rights for major properties like the NFL, NBA, MLB, as well as talent, the Mets fee would amount to chump change.
A look at the average number of listeners per game over the last few years reveals why this acquisition has value.
How can this be? It’s not because Mets fans enjoy listening to their team lose more than Yankees fans enjoy hearing their team win. No, it has much to do with the environment a sports talk rights-holder provides for a team it partners with.
Win or lose, the Gasbags are talking about your brand around the clock. Mets fans were dedicated FAN listeners.
The only time the Bombers are heard on WCBS-AM, their current radio home, is during the play-by-play. The rest of the day the team might get mentioned in a sports update. Yankees fans go elsewhere, like FAN or 98.7, to hear their team discussed.
For the Mets, the advantages of having their games aired on an all-sports radio station are still the same. But there is a flip side. Clear Channel, a possible Mets suitor, owns six stations in the market, which could provide the Mets with greater demographic diversity and a chance to reach a wider audience.