Monday, September 30, 2013

98.5 The Sports Hub grows its empire by inking deal with Celtics

By Zachary Baru

As if 98.5 The Sports Hub was not already in control of much of the Boston sports radio scene, the CBS-owned station added yet another team to its broadcast-rights.  The Sports Hub, or WBZ-FM, announced a multiyear agreement Thursday to broadcast the Celtics, which will not divert any Boston Bruins broadcasts to any other networks.  The Sports Hub will continue to broadcast all Bruins games, moving Celtics games that conflict to 100.7 (WZLX-FM).

With the addition of the Celtics, The Sports Hub now broadcasts four of the five major teams in New England, as they already broadcast Patriots and Revolution games.  Revolution games are a simulcast of the Comcast SportsNet New England broadcast.

While Entercom formerly had a monopoly in Boston sports radio, The Sports Hub has quickly grown to take over the country's seventh largest market.  Launched in 2009, The Sports Hub was the only FM sports station, and used their strong signal and interesting personalities to capture the interest of Boston listeners.

During a time when sports radio was starting to appear on FM, WEEI failed to do so, leaving the door open for CBS to launch the Sports Hub, the beginning of what is now an empire in Boston sports radio.  WBZ-FM also gains strong television presence from the simulcast of its popular afternoon drive program the "Felger & Massarotti Show".

Since the launch of The Sports Hub, WEEI revenues are down nearly 20 percent, according to an article published by the Boston Globe last month.

As The Sports Hub continues to expand its audience, more and more listeners are being converted to their new style of broadcasting, after decades of dominance from WEEI.  The Sports Hub's slightly less-serious but more fun approach to programming has proved to be successful with sports fans, and in just four years has changed an entire radio market.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

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