NEW YORK - The Philadelphia Union announced today that they have signed a deal with WIP to broadcast 17 of the team's games next season on the station's AM feed.
The broadcasts on SportsRadio 610 will be a mix of home and away matches, and will be streamed online on the station's website and mobile app.
Also starting next year, WIP will broadcast a weekly one-hour soccer show on 610 AM. It will only run through the end of the 2012 season, not year-round.
Still, this is very big news. There are a lot of teams in Major League Soccer that do not have English-language radio broadcasts, and for the Union to have a deal with the biggest station in town is pretty significant.
"We are thrilled to have developed this partnership with WIP, the preeminent sports radio station in the greater Philadelphia area," Union executive vice president Dave Rowan said in a statement. "Our fans have been asking for us to be on the radio for both games and daily Philadelphia Union talk radio coverage so this partnership was a major priority for us. We are truly honored to be a part of WIP’s already great programming."
Also in that statement were remarks from Marc Rayfield, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio Philadelphia. "Soccer is exploding in the Delaware Valley," he said. "PPL Park is filled every game and the fans are as enthusiastic as any in professional sports. We are proud to help expand the team’s reach and the sport's popularity throughout the region."
There was no announcement of who will be on the broadcast team. A Union spokesperson told me they haven't even started that part of the process yet. There also was not any statement about whether a rights fee was involved; I'll try to find that out.
The Union visit the New York Red Bulls tonight in their final home game of the regular season (thus the dateline on this post). Kickoff is at 8 p.m., and you'll be able to get live commentary from me right here on the blog. You can also watch the game on ESPN2 or ESPN3.com.