ESPN Radio and the University of Southern California (USC) today announced a multi-year agreement in which the network will have exclusive national broadcast rights for all home Trojans football games.
This marks ESPN Radio's first nationally exclusive broadcasting agreement with a college football program and only the second such agreement in the industry (Notre Dame and IMG Sports).
"We have had a long relationship with USC which has proven to be an excellent one in many ways," says Tim McCarthy, Sr. Vice President, ESPN Radio Play by Play & Talent Planning. "We will work closely with USC to develop ancillary marketing opportunities to touch USC fans everywhere."
ESPN Radio will present USC games on up to 300 affiliates nationwide. 710 ESPN Los Angeles (KSPN) has been the flagship station of the USC Football Radio Network (Fresno to San Diego) since 2006.
USC is the second program to broadcast games nationally- the first being Notre Dame, first with Westwood One and then with ISP/ IMG Sports. However there are a few slight differences. ESPN Radio will only have the rights for USC home games. IMG/ ISP has the rights to all Notre Dame games. The second big difference is that ESPN Radio Deportes gains the rights to all USC games in the California market instead of letting local stations bid for it. This means that ESPN Radio's rivals will have a harder time getting USC on the schedule (Sports USA has typically had an average of 2 USC games a season to date), but it won't be impossible. All road games are still up for grabs. The third difference I see is that USC games will be streamed live online through ESPNRadio.com. ISP doesn't have the same scenario for Notre Dame, though some local stations do stream the Irish games online. In the long run will this be successful for USC? Is this merely the radio version of the much despised Longhorn Network? What other Universities might try and get national radio exposure (Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, and BYU come to mind). And will ESPN Radio schedule other games against their USC broadcasts? We'll have to wait and see. It should be very interesting come September.