Source: Yankees close to deal to move to WFAN in 2014

John Sterling sits in his booth before a

John Sterling sits in his booth before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 25, 2009) (Credit: AP)

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It is a partnership that predates WFAN's move to 660 AM on the radio dial, predates the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show, and even predates the births of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

But come next season, Mets games no longer will be heard on the FAN, where they are expected to be replaced by their crosstown rivals.

The Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday. The Yankees have been carried since 2002 by WCBS Radio, which, like WFAN, is owned by CBS.

The new arrangement would bump the Mets off the radio station that has carried them since its inception on July 1, 1987.

It is not clear where the Mets would land, but among the options are ESPN New York and WOR AM, which is owned by Clear Channel Media, a serious bidder for the Yankees rights earlier in the process.

When Jeff Wilpon, the Mets' chief operating officer, was asked Tuesday about Newsday's online report earlier in the day, he said, "That's fairly accurate. I mean nothing's definitive yet, but that's fairly accurate.''

Wilpon said the team is "negotiating with numerous parties about what we're going to do with our radio rights,'' and that he expected the matter to be resolved within six weeks.

Lonn Trost, the Yankees' chief operating officer, said a deal for the team's radio rights is "close," but he would not confirm or deny that WFAN is the team's destination.

"Right now we're in negotiations and everything is confidential," he said. "Part of the agreement we're drafting has a confidentiality agreement. I can't even get into it . . . I am close with some entity for next year."

Still, Trost cautioned, "Things have gone in so many directions with this negotiation . . . I can't tell you today if it will be the same thing tomorrow."

All indications are that John Sterling would remain the team's play-by-play man. Less certain is the status of his partner, Suzyn Waldman, but if the Yankees give their blessing, they likely will continue an on-air partnership that began in 2005.

Regardless of where the Mets go, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin probably would remain on the broadcast team.

The Yankees' current one-year contract is believed to pay $13 million to $14 million. The new contract likely will boost that figure to well over $15 million per season.

The Mets are believed to earn about half what the Yankees do in rights fees but have been a money loser for WFAN, which inherited the team when it took over WHN's 1050 AM signal in 1987. The Mets then moved down the dial with WFAN to 660 AM in 1988.

WFAN operates at both 660 AM and 101.9 FM. The Yankees presumably would be heard on both channels.

The Yankees signed one-year extensions to stay on WCBS 880 AM for the 2012 and '13 seasons, aligning their availability with the expiration of the Mets' contract on WFAN after the current season.

With Marc Carig

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Who should be retained if the Yankees switch to WFAN?

John Sterling Suzyn Waldman Sterling and Waldman Neither

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