The Baltimore Blast and Channel 45 are near an agreement under which the station will televise six regular-season Major Soccer League games this season.
Bruce Lumpkin, general manager for WBFF-TV, said yesterday: "We have the basis of an agreement. I presented it to the owners today [yesterday], and on Monday I'll have an answer. I feel that answer will be yes. I have no problems with it, and the Blast has no problems."
Lumpkin said the first game on the schedule is set for Dec. 26, when the Blast will play the Kansas City Comets in Kansas City, Mo.
Blast general manager John Borozzi said yesterday that Art Sinclair would do the play-by-play. Sinclair, in his 10th season as the Blast's radio announcer, was hired last summer to be the team's director of corporate sales and broadcasting.
Borozzi said he has three people in line to handle the commentary, but he would not name them.
"I've been working too hard to get the games on television to concentrate on the talent we're going to use," said Borozzi. "We [the Blast and Channel 45] still have to work together to sell the air time for the games."
Borozzi said there is a possibility that some Blast games this season also will be telecast on a delayed basis on a cable station.
"And we have a lot of people interested in televising the playoffs," he said. "We'd love to go with WBFF in the playoffs, but May is ratings month for them and we have to wait and see what their schedule is and what our schedule is."
Borozzi attributed the reduction in games this season (six compared with last year's 13-game contract with Channel 45) to "the tough economy out there, which makes it hard to sell air time."
Former Channel 11 sports anchor Chris Thomas did the play-by-play last season but said he could not return because of increased commitments at a Tampa, Fla., TV station. Former Blast general manager Dan Counce, who handled the commentary last season, has taken over as St. Louis Storm general manager.
The TV schedule:
Dec. 26--at Kansas City, 8:35 p.m.; Jan. 19--Tacoma at Baltimore Arena, 3:05 p.m.; Feb. 23--at San Diego, 10:35 p.m.; March 16--San Diego at Baltimore Arena, 2:35 p.m.; March 24--St. Louis at Baltimore Arena, 2:05 p.m.; March 27--at Kansas City, 8:35 p.m.