The marriage between simulcasting Mike Francesa’s WFAN radio show and Fox Sports 1 continues to be rocky affair. After spending over a decade simulcast on the YES Network and only bumped off for live Yankees games, Francesa now finds his show regularly pre-empted for live sports programming airing on the national cable outlet. This week alone Fox Sports has UEFA Champions League games on Tuesday and Wednesday along with Europa League games on Thursday.
Francesa isn’t happy about the situation, but says he can’t exactly talk about it for fear of being sued by his own company. Neil Best writes in Newsday that Francesa opened Tuesday’s show saying he received a letter from CBS Radio earlier this month that he’d be sued if he talked about it on the air. Best got a denial from a CBS rep. Francesa responded on air to the denial and repeated he’d received a letter containing “threats” and that the denial was a matter of “semantics.”
Obviously there are all sorts of contracts between Fox and CBS when it comes to the simulcast. Francesa speaking out over-the-air probably doesn’t sit too well with the people who negotiate these type of arrangements on either side of the table.
As stated before, the arrangement hasn’t exactly worked out ideally for either side. Francesa’s show is either bumped from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 or interrupted entirely. Meanwhile, as I wrote about in May, the ratings for a New York-centric radio simulcast pale in comparison to those generated by live Champions League soccer, despite the numerous GIFs Francesa has produced throughout the years which have delighted the sports blogosphere.
On YES, the time Francesa’s show filled from 1-6:30 p.m. would have been filled by an infomercial or replay of a Yankees game from 1977. Fox Sports has other options, something Francesa must have overlooked when he agreed to the deal earlier this year.
The funny thing here, as one Francesa fan pointed out on Twitter, part of the reason YES didn’t renew the simulcast was due to the host’s chummy relationship with Alex Rodriguez who became a persona non grata with the Yankees during the Biogenesis saga.