The deal marks a return for the White Sox to the ESPN Radio station, which had been the team’s radio home from 1999 to 2005 — the year they won their last World Series Championship.
Terms were not disclosed, but the agreement includes all regular season and postseason games, starting with the spring training Cactus League opener against Milwaukee February 27, 2021.
The White Sox most recently aired on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, which declined to seek a renewal. ESPN 1000, now under the management of Good Karma Brands, beat out Entercom Communications, which bid for the rights on its all-news combo of WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM.
“The White Sox are an extremely entertaining, talented baseball team with an incredibly bright future, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to bring the White Sox to ESPN 1000 fans,” Mike Thomas, ESPN Chicago market manager, said in a statement. “We’re dedicated to bringing the best content in Chicago sports to ESPN 1000, and having the Sox back on our airwaves just ensures that we’re making good on that promise.”
The long-anticipated announcement had been set for Tuesday but was postponed after news broke that White Sox manager Tony La Russa was charged with driving under the influence. Stemming from an incident last February in Phoenix, La Russa was charged with two offenses October 28 — one day before the White Sox confirmed his hiring.
Today’s joint statement made no mention of Andy Masur or Darrin Jackson, leaving open whether they would be back as radio play-by-play announcer and analyst, respectively.
“White Sox baseball has found an incredible home with ESPN 1000,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer. “This is the beginning of a bright future with a radio partner whose brand resonates loudly with Chicago sports fans. As we prepare for an exciting season ahead on the field, we look forward to bringing White Sox baseball to our fans with a renowned sports station that shares the same passion for the game as we do.”
As part of the deal, ESPN 1000 will air “White Sox Weekly,” a two-hour show in season and one-hour show off season, as well as pregame and postgame shows.
Milwaukee-based Good Karma Brands has managed the station since 2019 under a local marketing agreement with ESPN owner Walt Disney Co. Securing the White Sox radio rights has been a top priority for Thomas since he started.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey ESPN 1000 ranked 28th in the market overall and tied for 18th place among men between 25 and 54.