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CBS Going Big on Thursday Nights

Jason Barrett

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For a new show on the CBS schedule for the 2014-15 season, network executives are promising advertisers and viewers that it will be intensely dramatic, although it is not a drama series; offer compelling competitive matchups, although it is not a reality competition series; and feature famous faces, though its stars belong to no actors’ union.

The show is “Thursday Night Football,” which joins the CBS prime-time lineup on Sept. 11, the result of a deal CBS made with the National Football League for a package of games that would complement the network’s Sunday football programming. “Thursday Night Football,” presented in partnership with the league’s own NFL Network, is getting a huge promotional push from CBS.

“I don’t think the CBS Corporation has ever mounted a larger promotional campaign,” Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said on Monday at a “media day” event for reporters at the CBS Broadcast Center on the Manhattan’s West Side. “We’re determined to work with the N.F.L. to make sure this is a success.”

In a phone interview, George F. Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group, called the effort “the biggest promotional and marketing event we’ve had at the network.”

“No stone will be unturned, from radio, outdoor, cable, digital and interactive guides to good old TV commercials,” he said. “It’s literally around the clock,” he added, “a lot of firepower.”

On the air, CBS has, for the last two months, been running an energetic spot with the theme “Football starts here,” featuring stars of CBS entertainment series like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Elementary” and “Two and a Half Men.” Some wear eye black inscribed with the words “Thurs” and “Night” while others strip off outerwear to reveal they are wearing “Thursday Night Football” jerseys. There are also versions for local stations that are owned by CBS, among them KCBS in Los Angeles and WCBS in New York.

The network’s 200 affiliated local stations have received materials so they may produce their own versions, Mr. Schweitzer said, in which “they can cut to their weather guy taking off his shirt” to reveal the jersey.

Last week, episodes of “Big Brother,” the CBS summer reality competition series, featured a contest with a “Thursday Night Football” theme. The three winners got to leave the Big Brother house to meet members of the Dallas Cowboys and the team’s owner, Jerry Jones, at the Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

Reminders about “Thursday Night Football” will also be woven into episodes of CBS’s scripted series, Mr. Schweitzer said. For instance, Boomer Esiason, an analyst on “NFL on CBS,” is to appear in an episode of “Blue Bloods,” he said, and another “NFL on CBS” analyst, Phil Simms, will get a guest spot on “Elementary.”

Viewers of CBS’s daytime lineup will find “Thursday Night Football” promoted during “The Talk” as well as during the game shows “Let’s Make a Deal” and “The Price Is Right.” And rather than tap an actor from a CBS entertainment program to host the 2014-15 edition of the network’s annual fall preview show, Mr. Schweitzer said, the host will be Jim Nantz, who will handle the play-by-play duties during “Thursday Night Football”; the preview show is to be broadcast at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on Sept. 1.

The focus of the campaign is to marry “the world of sports and the world of entertainment,” Mr. Schweitzer said, to help signal that “Thursday Night Football” will be broadcast during prime-time hours normally devoted to entertainment programming rather than on Sunday afternoons.

In that regard, CBS follows in the footsteps of “Monday Night Football,” a ratings powerhouse for decades for ABC before being shifted to a sibling cable channel, ESPN, and “Sunday Night Football,” tremendously popular since it joined the NBC prime-time lineup in 2006. “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the 2013-14 season, topping all the scripted and unscripted entertainment offerings on broadcast television.

According to Nielsen data, “Sunday Night Football” drew a 12.8 rating for 2013-14, meaning that 12.8 percent of all television households watched the show. The runner-up, the CBS entertainment series “NCIS,” has a 12.5 rating, Nielsen reported, followed by “The Big Bang Theory,” also on CBS, at 12.0. An average of about 22 million viewers watched each Sunday-night game, according to Nielsen, followed by about 20 million for “NCIS” and 20 million for “The Big Bang Theory.”

The sales of commercial time during the eight games that will appear on CBS under the “Thursday Night Football” banner are being handled by CBS Sports, which has been promising potential advertisers a 12.0 rating.

“The response has been very, very positive,” John Bogusz, executive vice president for sales at CBS Sports, said in an interview after the media day presentation, partly because Thursday leads “into the all-important weekend” for marketers in categories like “automobiles, movies and fast food.”

Four major marketers have signed as sponsors of “Thursday Night Football” segments, Mr. Bogusz added: Lowe’s and Verizon, for the pregame show; Lexus, for halftime; and Mazda, for the postgame show. In total, “we’ve written a good amount” of business for Thursday, he said, and “still have availability.” (Operators are standing by. Just kidding. Sort of.)

At the NFL Network, said Brian Matthews, senior vice president for media sales at the N.F.L., Lexus will also be the halftime sponsor and Mazda the postgame sponsor, with the jewelry retailer Zales as the pregame sponsor. The NFL Network will simulcast the CBS games, he added, which run through Oct. 23; the NFL Network will carry eight subsequent games on its own starting Oct. 30.

Credit to the NY Times who originally published this article

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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