Slowly, ESPN is facing more competition in the television world. We've seen College Sports TV rebrand itself as first CBS College Sports and then CBS Sports Network. We've seen Outdoor Life Network rebrand itself as first Versus and then NBC Sports Network. Now, those two companies are building a national sports platform to compete with ESPN in another medium - radio. In the last two weeks, NBC and CBS have both announced a national partnership to build their own sports radio networks. This comes on the heels of Sporting News Radio being transformed into Yahoo! Sports Radio as well.
As of the moment, there are no talent announced for either network, but it appears both NBC and CBS have syndication commitments to get these networks off the ground. NBC Sports Radio's agreement is with Dial Global radio, who you may recognize from their work with the NCAA Tournament and Westwood One. The startup will begin in September with full length shows, news updates, and more. Interestingly, according to Bloomberg, the NBC radio network will feature both national and regional coverage.
CBS' syndication partnership is through Cumulus Media, which will make the network available on 67 of its 570 affiliates around the country to begin with according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, the announced plan has CBS Sports Radio on in 9 of the top 10 markets around the country when it launches on January 2nd, 2013. CBS Sports Radio will be a 24/7 all sports network.
The fact that NBC and CBS would enter the national sports radio field at the same time they attempt to build television networks to rival ESPN is intriguing to say the least.