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Usually, I tend to wait for either an official press release from the Syracuse Athletic Department or confirmation from the Syracuse Post-Standard before publishing what I consider a "rumor."
However, given the circumstances surrounding the information I have received over the last two days, I feel pretty confident that what follows will be substantiated over the next 24 hours or so by various media sources.
The news is fairly straightforward: Syracuse has finally grabbed a substantial media foothold in New York City. Starting this season and continuing for what is believed to be a three-year period, 1050 ESPN Radio will air Syracuse's complete lineup of football games as well as a handful of select hoops contests. The contract also includes the broadcast rights to the Jim Boeheim Show as well as the Greg Robinson Show.
For all the grief Dr. Gross has taken lately, this is a major accomplishment. New York City has always been dominated radio-wise by Notre Dame (currently broadcast on 660 AM WFAN) and, arguably, Penn State. With Syracuse's alignment with 1050 ESPN Radio, the Orange has aligned itself with a broadcast station that not only reaches the largest media market in the world, but also extends south to Northern/Central New Jersey and north up through the Connecticut River Valley.
In short, Syracuse has just put itself in a position to own southern New England and the northern Mid-Atlantic region. And, more importantly, there is not another university in the northeast that can boast such a wide broadcast net.
UPDATE: I just received an email that verifies what appears above.
Also, if one should feel the need, Dr. Gross will be appearing live at the ESPN Zone in New York City to publicize the agreement. His appearance should begin around 12:40 in the afternoon. Hopefully, I will find some time to "LiveBlog" the conversation.
UPDATE II: As anticipated, the announcement is official. Per Syracuse Athletics:
“To be on ESPN Radio in New York City and to start this long-term partnership with our friends at ESPN Radio is monumental for Syracuse University,” Gross said. “We are very excited about the opportunity to broadcast our games in the city. At Syracuse, we believe that we should represent the entire state of New York, including New York City.However, Syracuse's alignment with 1050 ESPN Radio is coming at a price. As Syracuse Post-Standard staff writer Donnie Webb reports in his blog, the Orange are going to be paying 1050 ESPN Radio a sizeable chunk of change:
“This is all part of our ‘Oranges in the Apple’ campaign. We do believe we are New York’s college team. This reinforces that. It is important for Syracuse to be in New York City with all of our wonderful alums and fans who live there. This is the most significant radio announcement we believe we have had in the history of the program. ESPN Radio brings so much to the table. They are always on the cutting edge of presenting sports the right way. This partnership will be unbelievable for both of us.”
Athletics director Daryl Gross said the move cost the Orange some money - which he declined to specify - but he thinks it's worth it to find a prominent home with a powerful station that will promote Syracuse teams in the Big Apple.Given the nature of this agreement, the cost that Syracuse is paying to 1050 ESPN Radio is likely tied to the advertising associated with the agreement, and not the rights to broadcast Syracuse games. Thus, while it appears as if the Orange bribed 1050 ESPN Radio into carrying its games, it is probably just to cover its end of the advertising needed to publicize the relationship.
"The establishment of this thing is a wonderful thing for us," Gross said Monday night. "We've talked about being New York's team. We want to make the whole state proud. We feel like we're one of the big boys."
Gross said SU logos will appear on 1050 ESPN Radio billboards throughout the city, so in spending the extra money to get on one of New York's major sports station is offset in the promotion.
Gross said Syracuse athletics has a new digital billboard ad running in Times Square. He said the 30-second spot runs 20 times a day for a year on the ABC SuperSign screen and will feature the SU logo and footage of Orange teams.