Monday, November 15, 2010

Yankees Deal With WCBS-AM Expiring

Future of John Sterling & Suzyn Waldman up in the air

Is the curtain falling on Ma and Pa Pinstripe? Will next season be John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman's last in the Yankees radio booth?

A story by Rob Raissman says right now their future is up in the air. The Yankees contract with 880 WCBS-AM, worth about $12 million per year, expires at the end of the 2011 season, so do Sterling and Waldman's pacts. Sterling has been the radio voice of the Yankees since 1989. Waldman joined him in 2005.

There has yet to be any serious negotiations between the Yankees and WCBS. The job status of Ma and Pa cannot be resolved until a new radio-rights deal is cut.
Outside of WCBS, which probably wants to keep the Yankees, it's highly likely ESPN will - if it hasn't already - stick its beak into the mix. For ESPN-1050, the process of trying to chip away at WFAN, longtime Mets rights holder, has not been easy.

Adding Yankees radiocasts to the mix of Jets, Knicks and Rangers would help change the equation - drastically. But how much would ESPN be willing to pay for the radio rights to Yankees baseball? And would pinstripe honchos be satisfied having their games go out over ESPN-1050's weak signal?

Where does this leave Sterling and Waldman? If WCBS retains Yankees rights the chances of them returning are much better than if a new outlet takes over. If that happens, all bets are off, according to Raissman.

The Yankees regime, led by Hal Steinbrenner, will be more concerned with obtaining maximum dollars in a new radio deal than who the broadcasters are. Loyalty ain't even a factor here. This would give a station the freedom to make that call. A call that will determine the future of Ma and Pa.

Read more here.

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