WCCO's long radio relationship with Gophers football is over, with that team's rights belonging to KFAN starting this fall. But CCO's booming signal has a new and intriguing football partner: Division III St. Thomas.
The school and station announced Wednesday a two-year agreement by which WCCO will broadcast all University of St. Thomas football games in 2011 and 2012. Dave Lee, who called Gophers games for WCCO, and Joe Senser, who played for the Vikings and previously served as an analyst on Vikings broadcasts, will be the broadcast team.
It appears at face value as an attempt by St. Thomas to raise its profile and perhaps compete with (or even separate itself from) other MIAC peers, including longtime rival St. John's. All Johnnies football games are broadcast on the radio on multiple stations, including in St. Cloud (660-AM) and the Twin Cities (1330-AM). Neither of those stations, it is fair to say, carry the same clout as WCCO.
WCCO has been broadcasting college football games since 1924. It will be interesting to see what kind of regional listener interest there is in broadcasts of St. Thomas football -- a program that has been on the upswing since Glenn Caruso (30-6 record the past three seasons) took over, but one that undoubtedly lacks the same range as the Division I Gophers.
Terms of the deal were not mentioned in the press release. More on that if/when information becomes available.