Earlier today, ESPNLA 710AM was named the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams. The five-year agreement provides ESPNLA with a vast array of broadcast rights, including games, pre- and post-game shows, original content and regularly scheduled programs and interviews throughout the week. Vice President and General Manager, ESPNLA, Scott McCarthy, led ESPN’s negotiations and discusses this exciting announcement.
What does landing the Rams’ football rights mean for the ESPNLA brand and sports talk radio?
This new relationship with the Rams really elevates ESPNLA to another level. We already have one of the best lineups of local sports talk talent in the country, as well as great play-by-play programming year-round with the Los Angeles Lakers, USC football and basketball, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And, of course, the great shows and fantastic play-by-play we are fortunate to air as an affiliate of the ESPN Radio Network. Being a part of the Rams historic return to Los Angeles definitely takes ESPNLA up another notch.
What does it mean to have so many iconic franchises on one station? What challenges does that hold?
Adding the Rams to our stellar play-by-play lineup greatly enhances our competitive position and will further strengthen our brand, grow our audience, and provide us with another great asset on the ad sales side. There will be the challenge of managing conflicts when two of our teams are playing at the same time, of course. Since we enjoy great relationships with each of these franchises it is easier to manage the very few conflicts we anticipate and we are always able to move a game to another full-market station.
What’s the online ESPNLA Radio experience going to be like for Rams fans around the world?
For the most part, it will be exactly the same for the digital listener as it will be for anyone tuning in via terrestrial radio. Comprehensive, wall-to-wall coverage on game day and compelling Rams content throughout the week. There are, however, a few restrictions on the digital distribution of the actual game broadcast; for example we can stream games to desktop without restriction, but there will be some limits on streaming games to mobile devices.
The first game for the new Rams, a preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys in the Coliseum on Aug. 13, also airs on ESPN television. In addition, the Rams are at the 49ers for their MNF debut in Week 1 in September. How will ESPNLA Radio leverage the national network’s resources, particularly for those two games?
Yes, we are very lucky to have two of the biggest Rams games of the season on ESPN television – their very first game back in LA against the Cowboys, and then their first regular season game up in the Bay Area on Monday Night Football. We’ve already started the conversations with our colleagues on the TV side and expect to work very synergistically with them on both games. We will absolutely be tapping into their resources; for example, a behind-the-scenes tour for Rams’ VIPs at the MNF game and chalk talk sessions before games with ESPN NFL analysts. And, we will also be very aggressive in promoting the national ESPN TV telecasts to Rams and NFL fans here in Los Angeles leading up to each game.