Detroit Pistons fans who listen to games on the radio must remember to turn the dial next season as the team announced it's leaving 97.1 The Ticket for Detroit Sports 105.1. Not much will actually change from the in-game experience: Mark Champion and Rick Mahorn are still handling play-by-play and analyst duties. But the team and station are framing the new deal as a "content creation agreement" that "could become a model for future professional sports rights agreements," which, sure, that sounds cool.
The complete press release is below, followed by an exciting Twitter collage of smiling men in suits from the press conference earlier today:
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has agreed to a multi-year radio agreement with Greater Media Detroit. Dennis Mannion, CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons and Steve Chessare, Market Manager of Greater Media Detroit made the joint announcement. Detroit Sports 105.1 FM will serve as the flagship station for the Pistons Radio Network which includes stations throughout Michigan and Northwest Ohio.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Greater Media Detroit and look forward to collaborating on innovative ways to enhance coverage of Detroit Basketball for our fans," said Mannion. "Detroit Sports 105.1’s alignment with ESPN Radio is a natural fit for our organization given its extensive coverage of the NBA. We are also pleased to have the ability to partner with Greater Media sister stations like WRIF-FM (101.1 FM) and WCSX-FM (94.7 FM) to provide ancillary Pistons programming as well as PS&E concert and event promotions."
"We are delighted that fans will find themselves tuning to Detroit Sports 105.1 to hear all the excitement of Detroit Basketball," said Greater Media’s Chessare. "Our partnership with the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment is another example of how Detroit Sports 105.1 is committed to offering our listeners the best sports programming experience."
As part of the agreement, Detroit Sports 105.1 will broadcast all 82 regular-season games as well as all preseason and postseason playoff contests. Pistons fans and Detroit Sports 105.1 listeners will receive extensive pre- and postgame shows, special weekly interviews with coaches, players and personalities as well as expanded Pistons coverage throughout each broadcasting week.
Additional programming, including extended pregame and postgame coverage, interviews, news reporting and feature specials will also be available on Detroit Sports 105.1’s HD2 channel. Selected content from the HD2 channel will also be distributed digitally on Detroit Pistons and Detroit Sports 105.1 mobile apps. Breaking team news, feature programming and game analysis will also appear on Detroit Sports 105.1’s website at www.detroitsports1051.com.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with Palace Sports & Entertainment," said Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director Jason Dixon. "This is more than a standard rights agreement, it’s a content creation agreement. The Pistons and Detroit Sports 105.1 will be generating an unprecedented amount of team related content that will be distributed over multiple platforms. The structure of the deal allows for creativity and innovation that we intend to take advantage of. I truly believe this could become a model for future professional sports rights agreements."
Pistons broadcasters Mark Champion, Rick Mahorn and George Blaha (when not performing television duties for FSD) will continue their play-by-play and analyst roles under the new agreement. The club will also handle the sale of advertising time for all games under the agreement.