After 20 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Spanish-language radio broadcast will switch stations to Burbank-based Liberman Broadcasting Inc.'s KHJ-AM (930) next season. The team signed a three year deal to have all 162 regular season games and any additional playoff games broadcast on the top-rated Spanish language AM station. There will also be expanded pre- and post-game coverage.


Former radio home KWKW-AM (1330) will now broadcast Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games and Los Angeles Galaxy games.


In addition to radio broadcasts, the team will have access to Liberman's four radio local radio stations KHJ-AM (930), KBUE-FM (105.5/94.3), KWIZ-FM (96.7) and KRQB-FM (96.1) and Liberman-owned KRCA-62 television station to run promotions for the team.


"This will be an integrated Spanish-language broadcasting and marketing arrangement," said Marty Greenspun, Dodgers chief operating officer.


The Dodgers have a large fan base that listens to the team in Spanish. It hopes that the new arrangement will allow it to grow that fan base by having live spots broadcast from Dodgers Stadium and integrating promotions such as ticket giveaways on the radio.


The broadcast team will still be led by Hall of Fame announcer Jaime Jarrin, who will be in his 50th season as an announcer. He will continue to be joined by Pepe Yniguez and former Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in the broadcast booth. The Dodgers were the first MLB team to have a bilingual broadcast.


The move comes on the heels of one of the team's most successful events targeting the Spanish-language audience. The team conducted its 10th annual "Viva los Dodgers" event this month, which drew in excess of 10,000 fans compared to just 500 fans at the first festival.


The event costs $200,000 to produce and allows sponsors to engage fans who come for pre-game festivities including a concert. Nearly 40 sponsors participated, marking the largest such participation in the event's history. Some sponsors do grassroots marketing, name gathering and others have product samplings.


Fans, however, were not the only people in attendance this year. Representatives from at least four other MLB franchises observed the event and hope to replicate it in their markets.


"It's really cutting edge and other teams will do more and more events like this," Greenspun said.


Little League Help

Big Four accounting firm KPMG LLP signed a long-term deal to become a presenting sponsor of Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiative. The firm will invest $1 million a year and the resources of its employees to support the youth baseball initiative founded in Los Angeles in 1989.


The firm initially invested in the program in New York's Harlem neighborhood and decided to expand its sponsorship this year to the national level. That meant becoming a partner for the RBI World Series that took place earlier this month in Compton, which featured both boys and girls youth teams competing from around the country. More than 50 KPMG employees from the L.A. office were asked to volunteer their time as scorekeepers, vendors and such for the event. On a national level, the firm will lend its organizational and managerial skills to the program's overall development.


Major League Baseball has invested $10 million in its first Youth Baseball Academy in Compton. The facility has been open 16 months.


Meanwhile, executives of the Los Angeles-based team The Summa Group of wealth management firm Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., who are usually busy providing asset management and estate planning services to individuals and some institutions, took a break last week to support its baseball initiative by bringing two groups of kids to a Dodgers game.


"When we're not doing what we do Monday-Friday, this is one of our passions," said Brian Werdesheim, executive director of investments for the company. The Summa Group expects to raise $1 million for charity this year.


Rugby Move

Burbank-based Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN sports network has acquired the rugby news Web site Scrum.com in an effort to attract fans ahead of Europe's Rugby World Cup, which will be held in France and start Labor Day weekend. The site was founded 10 years ago and has as many as 500,000 unique monthly visitors during rugby season. The site will add to ESPN's existing coverage of the month-and-a-half-long event, for which it holds the television broadcast rights.


The move comes shortly after ESPN announced the acquisition of Cricinfo, an online community of cricket fans. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.


Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at (323)549-5225, ext. 236, or at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com .

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