Good Karma Brands announced Monday it has exercised its option to buy ESPN 1000 (WMVP-AM) from Disney.
The company is also acquiring ESPN’s New York (WEPN/98.7 ESPN) and Los Angeles (KSPN-AM/ESPN 710), giving the Wisconsin-based company inroads in the nation’s three top radio markets. The amount of money Good Karma paid for the stations nor the terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all three are remaining ESPN affiliates.
In the case of the New York station, Good Karma is taking over the LMA from Emmis Communications, who had a contract to run the station through August 2024. With the deal, Good Karma now owns and/or operates stations in nine markets, including three in its home state of Wisconsin.
“We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB,” said Good Karma Brands Founder and CEO, Craig Karmazin in a press release. “These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.”
Founded in 1997, Good Karma has been operating ESPN 1000 under a LMA for a little over two years. The move is a strategic one for ESPN, as the company is exiting the radio business. ESPN’s parent company did so for the most part in 2007, selling the old ABC Radio stations owned and operated under Disney to Citadel including WLS-AM/FM (who later merged with Cumulus) but retained the ESPN stations they owned.
The sale leaves Disney with just two stations – KRDC-AM in Los Angeles and KESN in Dallas-Fort Worth, and both are likely to be sold in the not-too-distant future. Once the home to Radio Disney before its closure earlier this year, KRDC was known as KRLA, an influential Top 40 station in the 1960s. Currently, KRDC simulcasts KSPN’s feed.
Currently, ESPN 1000 trails rival The Score (WSCR-AM) in overall ratings, with both down month-to-month in the most recent Nielsen ratings report.