The Celtics will have a new home on the radio dial in the coming season.
Entercom Communications, whose WRKO and WEEI stations in the Boston market have been the radio home for the Celtics since 2005, will no longer broadcast the team’s games, as the sides were unable to agree to a new contract.
“WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th championship banner to the end of the Big 3 era,” said Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Jeff Brown in a statement.
“Unfortunately we were unable to come to terms on a new contract moving forward. We thank the entire Celtics organization for our tremendous time together and wish them the best of luck in the future.”
The Celtics did not offer a statement, but team management confirmed Entercom’s announcement.
It’s uncertain at this time which station will carry Celtics games in the 2013-14 season, but an announcement is expected soon.
CBS Radio owns 98.5 The Sports Hub, which has consistently surpassed WEEI in the Arbitron ratings and is the Bruins’ flagship station. CBS Radio has enough other properties in the market to make any scheduling conflicts work.
Multiple industry sources believe The Sports Hub to be a significant player for the Celtics rights.
Greater Media, which owns five stations in the Boston market, has expressed interest in Celtics broadcasts in the past.
No matter where on the dial the Celtics land, expect to hear the same broadcast team. Play-by-play voice Sean Grande and analyst Cedric Maxwell, a popular tandem that has been together since the 2001-02 season, were hired by the team, rather than the station that broadcasts the games.
An Entercom-owned station has been the flagship of Celtics broadcasts since the 2005-06 season. They had spent the four seasons before that on weak-signaled WWZN (1510), which opted out of the fifth year of its $2 million-per-year rights deal with the franchise.
Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement in their deal, which began in June 2005. It’s uncertain whether a rights fee was involved as well.
The Celtics spent two seasons on WRKO before moving over to WEEI (then at the 850 AM signal, now at 93.7 FM) before the 2007-08 season. The Celtics also aired on WRKO from 1981-87 and again in 1995-96.