The best-case (and most likely) scenario after Cogeco announced it no longer had the rights to Montreal’s Major League Soccer team has come to pass. RNC Media’s 91,9 Sports announced on Tuesday it has signed a deal for radio rights to the team’s games for two years, with an option for a third.
Financial terms were not discussed.
The agreement is a boost for 91,9 Sports, becoming the first of the big three franchise rights it could wrestle away from 98,5fm. Until now, its biggest live broadcasting rights were for the Laval Rocket, the Canadiens’ American Hockey League farm team. (That deal ends at the end of this season.)
It’s also a win for the franchise, formerly known as the Montreal Impact and now called Club de Foot Montréal, which could get only some of its games on the radio with the Cogeco deal — when it didn’t interfere with news programming, or Canadiens or Alouettes games.
With 91,9 Sports, all regular-season and playoff games will be on the radio, along with 30-minute pregame shows and 30-minute postgame shows (an hour for games in Montreal)
The station announced it will also be adding more CF Montréal content to its schedule to go with this new partnership, including making its soccer show FC919 daily.
The on-air team will be announced “in the coming weeks” with a team that promises to be “young, dynamic, unifying and different.”
Other announcements are also being promised. With 91,9 Sports not knowing its future as recently as two years ago, it seems plans are finally being made for the future.
CF Montréal’s English radio rights are with TSN Radio 690, but the latest announcement of a rights deal ended in 2020 along with 98,5fm’s. Since there aren’t really other options, expect the team to remain with that station.
Having negotiated multiple broadcast deals with The Expos, The Canadians, and The Allouettes I respect CF Montréal’s desire to be top dog one one radio station. We often had to move Als games from CJAD to CHOM when there was a conflict. In fact, our first negotiation with Pierre Boivin included a clause that the Habs were always first seat in the broadcast sched. The Allouettes hated that. I can assure you that there is no money to be made by either the team or the broadcaster in a comparatively small market such as ours. It’s a marketing play…Talk about Spanish rights to The Dodgers and it’s another game. Back in the day, Jack Todd tore us apart for not being willing to take massive losses to continue broadcasting The Expos. He actually blamed CJAD and me personally for the team leaving. That was Jack…It’s nice to see him back in the Gaz every Monday. The prestige, though, for a radio station as being the team’s partner is priceless. I wish them good fortune.
It would indeed surprise me if there’s any significant money changing hands here. The value seems to be more in getting all the games on the air and the additional programming and promotional partnerships.
Let’s be honest. Soccer sucks.
It may work in other parts of the world. But, in Canada and the US, it’s a niche sport.
Also, I can’t find the interest to watch a sport that allows huge corporate logos on the front of the Jerseys. What if I hate that corporation, am I going to follow a team with that logo.
Now for a small station like CKLX-FM 91.9, this is probably good for them. As they try to build their sports branded station. But over all. Who cares.
As for the rebranding of the Montreal Impact, just terrible. Club de Foot !!!
Where the hell do they think they are at. Football means NFL, CFL.
All this sounds like a Saputo pet project.
It seems like the rebrand to Club de Foot is to attract an international audience. Other soccer leagues who call their team football club or what ever have fans around the world. It is good for 91.9 to get the rights.
Though the name change I don’t like it I can see why they did it. It’s trying to attract more international players to Montreal. If that happens it would be a boost in ratings for what ever radio station has their games. People will want to listen to games that have players who are known world wide. Yes I can see it as a marketing thing but in the end I still support the team and what ever station they land on.