Via Bob Raissman -
It soon will be splitsville for the Sports Pope and the Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network.
The 10-year+ simulcast relationship between WFAN’s Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa and the YES Network will be over by the end of January, the Daily News has learned. YES will replace Francesa’s afternoon drive show with ESPN-98.7’s “The Michael Kay Show.”
A TV executive familiar with the situation confirmed the switch. He said the move is strictly a “matter of economics,” with the rights fee WFAN is asking for Francesa’s simulcast becoming too pricey for YES and far exceeding what YES will pay to air the simulcast of Kay’s ESPN soiree. According to the executive nothing has been finalized: “But it’s going to happen.”
WFAN’s simulcast contract with YES for Francesa’s show expires January 31.
Behind the scenes there has been speculation Francesa giving Alex Rodriguez an exclusive platform on his show may have rankled YES and Yankee brass, thus speeding up The Pope’s departure.
“Not true,” the TV exec said. “The framework of the new (simulcast) deal (with ESPN) was already in the works before that ever happened.”
Good timing for Francesa. He’ll get a stage at CBS like Boomer and Carton. Or, he’ll go to MSG. Either way, he’ll get his money. And, by disconnecting from YES, he can empty his barrels on the Yankees, who will probably suck this year and for a while after, without fear of Levine and Trost giving him a hard time.