Well, talk about unexpected. The Philadelphia Union and CBS Radio property SportsRadio WIP have announced a major deal that will see 17 select home and away Union matches broadcast on local radio starting next year, in addition to a weekly hour-long show dedicated to soccer, also starting next year that will run through the end of the MLS season in November.
This is, sensationalism aside, an absolutely remarkable achievement for the young team. WIP is no upstart -- it is established local radio, that for years has appeared to have no interest in soccer. As recently as last month, a local media source told the Brotherly Game that the chances of seeing the Union on WIP were about the same as a snowball's chance in hell. Well, times have changed, it turns out. A growing buzz around the team with their upcoming playoff run and (we're told) a desire on the part of WIP's management to have original programming on its 610 AM feed instead of just simulcasting from their new 94.1 FM flagship station led to interest in a deal.
Despite getting negative vibes from WIP hosts and management alike over its first two seasons of existence, the Union and its CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz tried to leave an olive branch available to CBS Radio just in case there was ever any interest down the line, often going out of their way to be kind. Those extra efforts have paid off.
We'll have much more on this over the coming days. For now, Union fans, congratulations: a deal with WIP is about the furthest proof you can get that this team is breaking into the mainstream.