Has NYCFC Found a Radio Deal?

Reported WFAN stipulation to also cover NYCFC shows Yankees commitment, ambition
by Nick Chavez   |   Monday, September 23, 2013

Blue City – column on New York City FC (NYCFC) & the NYC area soccer scene.

In yet another statement of ambition from New York City FC – as well as a demonstration of the media pull of their legendary minority owners, the New York Yankees – Major League Soccer expansion club NYCFC has reportedly been able to secure a profitable deal that will cover its matches on the famous metro-area sports radio station, CBS-owned 660-AM WFAN New York.

Early reports are claiming that the new deal between WFAN and the Yankees will run for 10 years, paying the club $15 to $20 million annually. Apparently, one of the final points of agreement was the Yankees’ insistence that their new MLS club’s games also be covered by the sports radio pioneers. What resulted, according to inside sources, is the most lucrative radio deal in any MLS club’s history.

Most reports of the deal include the involvement of NYCFC coverage in the agreement, though it should be noted that neither NYCFC nor Major League Soccer were mentioned in the official CBS announcement of its deal with the Yankees. However, this may only be because NYCFC coverage most likely wouldn’t begin until 2015, when NYCFC are to begin competing in MLS.

WFAN is considered the strongest AM radio signal in North America, said to be heard clearly on much of the East Coast of the US and Eastern Canada, ranging from as far south as Washington, D.C., to as far north as Massachusetts, and as far west as Indiana on clear days. It’s arguably the most famous all-sports radio station in North America, pioneering the all-sports radio coverage format, and will be a massive boost to the potential exposure of NYCFC, who will be competing with several established New York City metro area sports franchises.

If the deal becomes official as expected, NYCFC supporters and MLS fans in general should be pleased with the news. That the New York Yankees played hardball with CBS over the contract insisting that NYCFC coverage be included (and one would expect, with significant resistance and reservation from CBS considering MLS’s relatively-weak ratings from televised games), it not only demonstrates the immense draw and media power wielded by the 27-Time World Series winners, but their very strong commitment to seeing NYCFC become a truly successful and respected franchise.

With NYCFC’s inclusion on the station, the fledgling MLS club will be exposed to a very broad audience, and one that is, perhaps, a bit outside of its target demographic, as classic airwave sports radio is more frequented by a generation that is either retired or closer to retirement, more so than the usual 12-24 demographic that is frequently found to be embracing soccer the most in the U.S.

This, however, may be a blessing in disguise. Though appearing, at first-glance, a possibly misplaced media effort, this should instead help the older generation realize that, indeed, people do care about soccer in the United States, and that it is significant enough here to finally brush shoulders with the club whose importance hasn’t been questioned for nearly a century, the legendary New York Yankees.

With this realization and the coverage of the club and MLS, they may even succeed in converting some of these non-believers, educate the soccer ignorant and possibly pique their interest. If nothing else, it will also give New York City-area soccer fans (and beyond) yet another convenient place to take in live coverage of what will be the only professional soccer club in the confines of the Big Apple.

In any case, we can all agree that change in perception is a massive step forward, and with MLS club New York City FC sharing the same coveted, widely-received airwaves of one of the most iconic names in all of sports, MLS has just gotten another seat at the big boy’s table, in the media capital of the world. 


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This is the longest-running column focused on the only team representing the 5 Boroughs in world football: New York City FC. Long may its supporters continue to make history.