Most affiliates stick with Penn State.
Less than two weeks before the first kickoff it appears much of Learfield Sport’s Penn State Radio Network remains largely intact. With more than 50 radio affiliates, the school’s football games are heard across Pennsylvania beyond. Learfield CEO Greg Brown says Penn State is “very significant” for the company since it’s one of its larger university properties.
So far the only known station to drop the play-by-play is Hall Communications “Fox Sports Radio 1490” WLPA, Lancaster, PA. Program coordinator Sue Sensenig tells public broadcaster WHYY, Philadelphia that it was a “hard sell” to advertisers following the child sex assault controversy. Sensenig says the station hasn’t had any complaints about the decision.
SportsBusiness Journal estimates that Learfield pays as much as $6 million a year for the school’s rights. “But Penn State football is still going to generate a huge audience and we’ll continue to find ways for companies to connect with that audience,” Brown said. State Farm is the only advertiser so far to publicly announce it’s avoiding Penn State football. The insurer is shifting its ads to other sports broadcasts. Despite a lack of post-season play, Brown told SBJ that Learfield hasn’t asked to rework its contract with Penn State so far. “We’re partners with Penn State and we’ll deal fairly with them, just as they’ve always dealt fairly with us,” he said.