Last week, San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer appeared on KNBR’s ‘Murph & Mac’ show to announce a four-year extension with the station. The news that the long-time partnership will continue until 2025 came alongside another exciting update for fans. After California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement at the start of the month, Baer also commented on the issue of fans returning to stadiums on Opening Day.
KNBR and Giants Partnership Extension
“We are very proud, the Giants organization, to announce that we’ve concluded a new, four-year agreement with KNBR and Cumulus through 2025,” Baer said. “[KNBR] will remain the exclusive home of Giants baseball and all things Giants, and we couldn’t be more proud to continue the association. It’s just a pretty amazing connection between us and KNBR and the Cumulus group. We’re thrilled. We think we have the best station — I love the ‘Bye Bye Baby’ in the background — with all of the personalities. And then, of course, Jon, Dave, Kruk, and Kuip, bringing you the games. That’s great for everybody.”
During his guest appearance on the popular show, Baer also mentioned Jon Miller, Dave Flemming, Mike Krukow, and Duane Kuiper. Since baseball is the dominant sport in the Bay Area, it is frequently the topic of conversation across local airwaves. Longstanding KNBR host, Brian Murphy, chipped in with what the popular team means to the show.
“Paulie and I, one of the biggest reasons we’re so excited to come to work every day is because of Giants baseball,” explained Murphy. “Our lifeblood. And Kruk and Kuip — Paulie and I owe our careers to Kruk and Kuip, you know?”
The San Francisco Giants and KNBR partnership has certainly stood the test of time. 2021 is the 43rd consecutive season for the collaboration. What’s more, the team was on KSFO for their first 20 seasons in San Francisco. Fans are sure to welcome the news that this valued association is continuing for years to come with open arms.
“I remember hearing Lon (Simmons) on KSFO,” continued Murphy. “And then they made the switch to KNBR, and it was radical in ’79. Radical. And they brought in Lindsey Nelson.”
While details of the financial agreement between the Giants and KNBR are unlikely to be available to the public, Baer hinted at other specifics of the partnership. With the technological world catapulting forward, staying ahead of the game is essential. In the interview, he spoke about how both the team and station plan to manage that.
“The world’s moving at a fast rate, and then media forums are very different and very fractured and everything, and yet the power of baseball on the radio endures, right?” asked Murphy.
“It does, and the word pictures that get created, especially by the artists that do it with us—Jon, Dave, Kruk and Kuip—are powerful, I think, to all generations,” Baer replied.
“The platforms will change, and we’ve talked in our discussions; we talked a lot about the streaming and audio streaming. You’ll be getting games in all sorts of ways as we go forward, but it will always be through KNBR channels and the KNBR outputs into your homes and into your ears through earbuds and into your cars, obviously, and into your Alexas and all the different forms,” he continued. “We’re very aware that as technology changes, folks will be picking up games through those connections, but that’s OK. That’s fine. Different platforms will work for that.”
Fans Returning to Oracle Park
Ahead of Opening Day, fans across the city are wondering whether they can return to Oracle Park. As part of the KNBR interview, Murphy quizzed Baer on the latest details surrounding when fans can attend games. At the start of March, Newsom announced that outdoor stadiums within specific tiers can welcome fans beginning on April 1.
“So, where we are now is the state has approved in our tier— in our red tier—20 percent [capacity] for us,” Baer told Murphy. “We have to get that approved by the city. So we’re going to the city Public Health. We were cautiously optimistic about that.”
“And then, potentially, is the orange tier; it could go to 33 percent. But right now we’re most likely — with city approvals, we would in April be at about 20 percent, which is approximately 8,000 fans or so,” he explained. But we have to get that approved by the city. So it’s not official. But we are going to be sending out a note to our season ticket holders and everybody that’s sort of in the Giants’ orbit early next week to spell it out, contingent on city approvals.”
With COVID-19 cases falling in the region, San Francisco may soon move into the orange tier. Should that happen, Oracle Park would be able to open up at a 33 percent capacity with almost 14,000 fans in attendance.
About Larry Baer
A San Francisco native, Larry Baer is one of sports’ leading professionals. After graduating from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, he started working in the media industry for Westinghouse Broadcasting and CBS, Inc. He is best known professionally for his long-standing career in Major League Baseball.
Baer first joined the San Francisco Giants in 1992, initially taking on the role of Executive Vice President. Alongside the late Peter Magowan, he assembled a new ownership group, allowing the Giants to remain in their hometown. By 2012, he had taken on the role of CEO of the team, a position in which he has been greatly successful. That same year, the Giants won their third World Series Championship.
Additionally, Baer oversees business development for the Giants. Since he joined the organization, they have constructed Oracle Park, hailed by fans as one of the ‘best ballparks ever built’. The stadium earned Sports Business Journal’s Sports Facility of the Year title in 2018.
Baer has also held several posts in Major League Baseball boards, including positions on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Business and Media Board, and the International Committee. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Pam, and the couple has four children together.