NEW YORK -- XM Satellite Radio will carry major league baseball games under a $650 million, 11-year deal announced Wednesday, the latest move in a costly race with rival Sirius Satellite Radio to sign personalities and sports leagues as a way of winning customers.
XM now has 2.5 million subscribers who pay $9.95 a month for 130
channels of music and talk radio via satellite receivers. The
company said Wednesday it would need to sign up about 700,000 new
subscribers over the course of the deal to generate enough cash to
cover its cost.
Starting with 2005 preseason play, XM will broadcast every major
league game live. Some games will be broadcast in Spanish.
XM also said its new Major League Baseball Channel will
broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The channel will
feature new content and rebroadcasts of classic baseball games.
"This is the crown jewel -- the deal that we've been waiting
for," said Hugh Panero, CEO of Washington-based XM Satellite Radio
The baseball announcement follows a five-year, $500 million deal
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. signed this month with shock jock
Howard Stern. Sirius said it would need to attract 1 million
subscribers to cover the cost of that contract. His debut on Sirius
will come in January 2006 after Stern finishes the rest of his
current deal with Infinity Broadcasting Corp., the radio subsidiary
of MTV owner Viacom Inc.
Sirius, based in New York, announced Tuesday that its subscriber
base now tops 700,000 and is on track to reach 1 million by the end
of the year. It charges $12.95 a month to receive its 120 channels.