Katz could be fly in ointment

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

Random thoughts and observations while mulling over who should really replace Bryan Hall on Edmonton Eskimos' broadcasts ...

COSTLY ARRANGEMENT?

In a very uncertain time in the Edmonton media market, the Eskimos made an interesting move by signing a four-year radio rights deal with CHED.

On the surface, the CFL club made the right move.

It's believed the deal brings an annual rights fee of nearly $300,000 to the Eskimos.

Simple math means the four-year contract is likely worth close to $1.2 million.

That's big money for a CFL team - likely the second-richest radio rights deal in the league behind the Saskatchewan Roughriders arrangement with Regina's CKRM.

In terms of overall listeners, the Eskimos are also aligned with the right station as CHED ranks No. 1 in a market dominated by FM stations.

And in the key male 25-54 demographic, CHED ranked second in last fall's ratings book.

But there are two issues on the horizon that could pose problems for the Eskimos.

What happens when the Edmonton Oilers' radio rights deal with CHED expires in two more years?

And what happens if Oilers' owner Daryl Katz decides to expand his growing sports business and forms an all-sports radio station in this city - either by buying the TEAM 1260 or acquiring a different station before flipping it?

If the Oilers move to a different radio station in two years - possibly one owned by Katz - the Eskimos would be left on their own at CHED.

That wouldn't be an ideal scenario for the Esks, as sports fans follow the Oilers more than anything else.

BYE, BYE NYE

The Eskimos radio broadcasts will have a slightly different feel to them this year as Jamie Nye has left CHED for CJME radio in Regina.

Nye handled some of the home pre-game show and the post-game interview with the Eskimos head coach.

No replacement has been hired for Nye.

GOING GLOBAL?

Global TV's John Sexsmith should be named the new play-by-play radio voice of the Eskimos when Hall moves aside.

It just makes sense for the Eskimos.

With media outlets scaling back on staff and some facing financial issues, sports teams can't count on receiving the same amount of coverage in the future.

If Sexsmith can juggle his current TV sports reporting/anchoring duties with football play-by-play, the CFL club would surely see football coverage rise on Global.

Knowledge of the Eskimos and a passion for the job are already givens with Sexsmith.

Somebody else would have to bring an amazing set of skills to the table to make a better case.

THIS JUST IN ...

The word in CFL circles is linebacker Sean Lucas has signed a new contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

However, the deal hasn't been formally announced. If that is the case, the Riders have kept one of their key linebackers from reaching the free-agent market on Feb. 15.


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