Next WEEI Casualty – The Boston Celtics

As WEEI continues to circle the drain – everyday new rumors are coming fast and furious, (shutting down the FM signal and going back to AM?) today there was officially another casualty:

The Boston Celtics will no longer be airing on WEEI. From Jeff Brown:

WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th Championship Banner to the end of the Big 3 era.

Unfortunately we were unable to come to terms on a new contract moving forward. We thank the entire Celtics organization for our tremendous time together and wish them the best of luck in the future.

It speaks to how bad things are at the station when you would think the Celtics broadcast rights would be trending downward cost-wise as the team rebuilds and the station still can’t come to an agreement. Broadcast rights were one of the few assets the station still had.

How the mighty have fallen.

No word yet on the new radio home for the Celtics. You’d think the 98.5 airwaves would be a bit crowded with the Bruins games airing there, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Celtics end up at that station too.

  • GStill45

    1510 is too weak a signal to get the Celtics you would think. I think they could kick the bruins to AM 1030 when there’s a conflict. Wonder if Grande and Max jump ship with the team.

    • Cory M

      I doubt the Bruins would be the ones to jump ship to AM. I suppose they can also use WZLX on conflict nights.

      • bsmfan

        I don’t think Celtics #’s have been posted (outside of trying to factor from WEEI’s numbers), but if they follow the trend that TV has, Bruins 2x the Celtics.

  • Andy Dursin

    As much as WEEI is having major issues, this could have something to do with the Celtics organization believing their radio rights are worth more than they currently are. It certainly isn’t a good time for them to be negotiating based on the downward trend of the team and the rebuilding years to come.

  • David Corbett

    When is the Red Sox radio contract up for re-negotiation?

    • bsmfan

      2016, if the google machine is correct.

  • smack_libs_around

    Can anyone dig up any of those old press bits that declared how much WEEI ‘welcomed the competition’ when 98.5 came along? Such bravado, such bluster, such naivete.

  • bsmfan

    @GlobeChadFinn Don’t have it confirmed to this point. But the buzz about the Celtics ending up at 98.5 is deafening.

    https://twitter.com/GlobeChadFinn/status/369981656523755520

  • bsmfan

    For those wondering:

    @GlennDOrdway @DirtyHolland I can do TV National radio and I have been doing both butI can’t do local terrestrial radio through 2013. After that ????

    From: https://twitter.com/GlennDOrdway/status/369959405531709440

    I thought he had said his non-compete was 3 months after, but it looks like it extends through 2013, so that’s why he has not taken something local on.

    • JonB

      I was not a huge fan of Ordway, particularly over his last few years, but I would gladly take a show hosted by him & Pete Sheppard (with the caveat that Smerlas, DeOssie, Larry Johnson, Butchie Stearns, and crew not be allowed anywhere near the studio) over just about anything WEEI puts on the air now. Salk is not the answer (personally, I can’t stand the guy and his contrived fanboy “takes” which are an obvious attempt to appease the pink-hat fanbase) and he stick out like a sore thumb in this market. Programming a radio station cannot possibly be this hard, but if anyone can do it it’s Jeff Brown’s no-name buddy from Salt Lake City with no Boston market experience. #Sarcasm

  • nufced

    Could WEEI become the Boston affiliate for FOX Sports 1?

  • mick

    This station is going to be a case study for business classes for years to come. They did not take their competition seriously and by the time they started to react they were far to late. As far as losing the Celtics, who cares, basketball is 4th among the teams in this town. But when you are losing out on #4 it is more evident of a greater problem.

  • mick

    And he would not be wrong…..

    • HomerGreenz

      You liked the NBA when Bird was playing but don’t now (according to prior comments) or you’re just not interested in watching/listening to a shitty Celtics team this season (and probably the next few)?

      • mick

        Bingo

        • HomerGreenz

          To which part? I’ll never understand people that say they loved the NBA in the 80s, but not anymore based on game play alone. And don’t tell me it’s the tattoos either. Yes the game turned iso-heavy in the 90s and early 2000s, but thanks to some rules changes those days are long over, the pace of the game has picked up and it’s once again a pick and roll league

        • mick

          Homer, I did get turned off by the game in the era of which you described and I haven’t gone back. I think the main reason in all honesty is the way that it is rammed down my throat by ESPN. Sounds lame but I don’t like the single star self importance that ESPN makes the NBA while completely ignoring the NHL. Just my opinion.

  • JonB

    All signs seem to be pointing that way.

    Imagine the next shoe to drop will be Entercom selling off the various New England broadcast signals it acquired to simulcast WEEI during the boom years (e.g. 105.5 FM Springfield, 103.7 FM Providence, etc.). For the stations Entercom doesn’t outright own but has simulcast agreements with, have to think they’ll be reconsidering their relationship with WEEI as well, seeing the rights to the local teams broadcasts are the only thing of significant value in any syndication deal with WEEI at this point. With the ability to stream regular programming from just about any radio station–including 98.5 The Sports Hub–using any number of mobile devices, listeners in Maine, NH, Western MA, et. al can easily satiate their need for sports talk these days without resorting to WEEI’s standard over-the-air broadcast. In other words, with the awful programming WEEI has continued to put forth over the past 4 years, having the simulcast is essentially worthless for 6 months of the year now without the Celtics. From what you hear, the Red Sox aren’t too thrilled with WEEI/Entercom either, so may not be long til they’re on a CBS affiliate like WBZ-AM, WZLX, etc.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if WEEI eventually adopts some sort of hybrid local/national format, a la ESPN New York 98.7 FM. Mike & Mike followed by Colin Cowherd in the mornings, with a couple low rent local personalities like Muttnansky, Salk, John Ryder, et al. in the afternoons/ evenings. WEEI will continue to be crushed by 98.5 in the ratings (much like ESPN NY is crushed by WFAN), but it’ll be doing it a hell of a lot more cheaply and have the backing of a deep-pocketed owner like ESPN, who’ll likely be more excited by the opportunity to pump up its television programming at will in a sports-crazed town like Boston than whatever ad revenue can be generated.

  • bsmfan

    @McCannSportsLaw Patriots sued for fan death. Will be hard to prove stress from argument w/security guard “caused” fatal heart attack. http://bit.ly/16cXzJK

    Have we got any comment from Borges, Breer or any of the usual suspects yet on how Kraft and Belichick are responsible here? The silence from Foxboro only cements their guilt even more!!!!!!

  • HomerGreenz

    I can’t be the only person in Boston that can’t stand Grande, his canned, rehearsed nonsense and his fetish for useless counting stats and meaningless streaks?

  • mick

    Key word -national level. Check the ratings the last few years around here. not even close. No reason to to throw out names like an 8 yr old.

    • tmc

      hmm, weird how the NBA is popular everywhere nationally, except Boston…where ‘working class’ Bruins succeed…NBA has it’s problems, sure, but Boston’s “culture” has surely stifled it’s popularity moreso than the other way around

      • mick

        TMC, I believe hockey is bigger here mainly due to the amount that the sport is played. Take a ride by any rink and you will find it being used at all times. The youth number of youth programs for hockey is up there with soccer. Look at the number of mens AND womens senior leagues. There is just more interest in hockey here. The Bruins being a contender the last 6 years does not hurt either.

  • latetodinner

    Moving out Dale Arnold for Mike Muttansky, keeping Mike Holley, keeping Mike Adams, allowing Larry Johnson and Craig Mustard on the air, not moving D&C to RKO and putting a younger hipper sports centered morning show on to compete directly with Toucher and Rich, thinking Utility Lou Merloni should be allowed to talk about sports other than baseball…Jeff Brown has done way more harm than just firing Ordway and hiring Mike Salk.