Bad sport: Lorde's Royals banned by San Francisco radio stations - for curious reason

New Zealander singer Lorde. -- PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC
New Zealander singer Lorde. -- PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC

NEW YORK (AFP/REUTERS) - Lorde's smash hit Royals is suddenly taking on a renewed - and, to one set of sports fans, unwelcome significance - as a certain Kansas City sports team, the Royals, head to the World Series of US baseball.

At least two Northern California radio stations have pledged not to play the New Zealand artiste's song, in solidarity with the San Francisco Giants during their finals matchup with the Royals.

"No offence, Lorde, but for the duration of the World Series, KFOG Radio will be a 'Royals'-free zone. We're sure you understand," said one San Francisco radio station on Facebook and Twitter.

Another of the city's radio stations, KOIT, also said it was banishing the song from its airwaves for the duration of the best of seven series which begins on Tuesday night in Kansas City before heading to San Francisco on Friday for Game 3.

Last week, KOIT posted a small image on its Facebook page with the 17-year-old Lorde's name on it, next to a crossed-out word "Royals."

"You are in a #Royals free-zone until after the #WorldSeries #GoGiants," the post said.

Kansas City fans promptly turned to the station's website and put in requests for Royals, which won the Grammy in January for best song.

In another response, Kansas City station KZPT said it would play Royals every hour on Tuesday from morning until evening. KZPT said it was a sister station of KOIT.

"They're our sister station, and as the old saying goes: 'You can pick your friends but you can't necessarily pick your family,' and if they don't play it, then we will," KZPT programming director Tony Lorino said in a phone interview.

Royals, which Lorde released last year, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It lyrics take aim at ostentatious wealth and not baseball. However, Lorde has said that there was in fact a connection to the Kansas City Royals; she told VH1 in an interview last year that she was inspired by a 1976 National Geographic picture of former Royals superstar George Brett signing baseballs.

The Giants and Royals did, however, find common cause on another song - Journey's 1981 power ballad Don't Stop Believin', which both teams have played in their stadiums to rouse fans.

But Journey, which is from San Francisco, has made clear its preference, with frontman Steve Perry seen in the past joining the crowd's singalong to his song at Giants' games.

Journey on Twitter said the band was glad the Giants used the song, adding; "It has undoubtably brought them good luck."

Don't Stop Believin, with its theme of hope, has been embraced by numerous sports teams and also appeared in the final scene of the mafia television drama The Sopranos.