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 NBA franchise’s games beginning in 2013-14.
“WEEI has had an incredible run with the Boston Celtics, from being a part of their 17th championship banner to the end of the [new] 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 the Celtics games in the 2013-14 season, but an announcement is expected soon. Greater Media, which owns five stations in the Boston market, has expressed interest in Celtics broadcasts in the past.
The CBS Radio-owned 98.5 The Sports Hub, which has surpassed WEEI in the Arbitron ratings among Boston’s two primary sports radio stations, is the Bruins flagship station, but has enough other properties in the market to make any scheduling conflicts work.
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 who have been paired since the 2001-02 season, are 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 previous four seasons 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 (680) 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.