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Is Tim Howard’s Future In Media?

Jason Barrett

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NBC’s Premier League coverage does not need saving but it will likely have an expert on the subject this season:

Tim Howard.

Before his World Cup heroics, the U.S. national team goalkeeper worked seven games for the NBC Sports Network as an English Premier League analyst, a coup for NBCSN since Howard is also the starting keeper for the Everton Football club. Given that NBC Sports executives liked what they heard from Howard — as well as the fact that his Q-rating has soared exponentially after his Secretary of Defense performance in Brazil — the network is keen to have him return to its Premier League production (which kicks off again in August).

“Ultimately, it depends on Tim,” said Pierre Moossa, the coordinating producer for NBCSN’s Premier League production. “We would love to continue to work with him. As an active Premier League player, he adds such unique aspects to our broadcasts but we appreciate and understand that his commitment to his club and country is top priority. When I last spoke to him prior to the World Cup, he seemed very open to working with us during the upcoming season and we will continue to look for various opportunities to include Tim in our broadcasts.”

Moossa said the goal last year for NBC Sports and Howard was to find broadcast opportunities that did not impact his normal preparation for Everton. He commentated on days only after Everton games, traditionally a day off for players in the league.

“We would reach out a couple weeks in advance and see if he was available and interested,” Moossa said. “We never wanted to be a distraction for him. We would speak the Wednesday the week of the show to review his prior telecast, to discuss his upcoming broadcast, and to finalize his travel logistics. We would then leave him alone till after his match.”

Moossa said the day before Howard’s debut telecast last Oct. 27 — he called Chelsea-Manchester City at Stamford Bridge with regular play by play announcer Arlo White — NBC Sports executives were nervous that Howard’s broadcast work could potentially be a distraction for him. But Howard saved a penalty and recorded a clean sheet that day against Aston Villa in a 2-0 win. The win became a pattern: Moossa said Howard’s teams had a 6-1 record for matches the day before Howard working as an analyst. Howard called six games in the booth including Liverpool-Manchester City last April, and was in the studio for Arsenal-Chelsea last Dec. 23.

“There were nerves in the beginning, which was completely understandable, but also a desire to know everything about his new environment,” said White, who worked with Howard along with fellow commentator Steve Bower. “Pierre and I both spent time with Tim in the week leading up to the first broadcast and he took a lot of information on board about the requirements of working on an NBC Sports broadcast. It was more than he was expecting I think, but he took it all in without a single complaint.

“The evolution of his broadcasting over the course of his first season was stark. He went from a softly spoken, rather shy presence, to a confident and sharp analyst in very little time. I remember early in that first game together, I stayed quiet during the first replay. We’d previously discussed that that was his time to speak and to break down what had just happened. There was silence. I didn’t want to force the issue as I wanted him to remain calm and collected. We had a chat about it at halftime, and the flow improved markedly in the second half. Later in the season, at a huge Liverpool game during the title run, he was confident, eloquent, punchy and made some very insightful observations.”

There are certain positions in sports that tend to make good broadcast analysts. Sports television producers like keepers for soccer broadcasts since they see the entire field unlike a midfielder or forward. They are also generally excellent communicators (Howard is one of the best interviews on the national team), and by the nature of their job, they must study opponents tactics and tendencies.

White said that Everton manager Roberto Martinez (who is currently working for ESPN as a World Cup analyst) told him in an interview last season that Howard would achieve whatever he wanted to after the conclusion of his soccer career because “he’ll listen and he’ll work hard.” How does Moossa evaluate Howard’s long-term potential as a broadcaster?

“Should Tim choose to make television his career after he retires, he will have a bright future,” Moossa said. “He seemed to have the same approach for our broadcasts as he would for a match. He would watch back and critique his prior NBC telecast. We would then review it together on a conference call. He was always looking for feedback. His tremendous work ethic, his eagerness to learn and his desire to improve will ensure his success in the broadcast booth. You could tell by working with him, that regardless of this being a side project, he would not settle for anything less than his absolute best.”

For more check out Richard Deitsch’s column on SI where this story was first published

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Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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