If you were to ask me to name my favorite moment on sports radio in 2019, I would have to take you back to the end of the spring. Game of Thrones was a hot topic as the final season was winding down, and even though spring football was coming to an end and fans in Birmingham had questions about Nick Saban’s plan to get back to the top of the college football universe, the hosts of the JOX Roundtable didn’t miss a golden opportunity.
Nick Saban isn’t a man known for having a sense of humor or ever showing very much joy. That wasn’t the case though when host Lance Taylor asked the Alabama coach about the show. You can hear the result below.
It was everything I could ever want out of an interview. The question was unexpected. The answer was even more unexpected. Everyone involved was clearly enjoying themselves.
Until last week, I didn’t have to think twice about this being my answer when asked what my favorite sports radio moment of the year was. That was before Parkins & McNeil got a hold of Dave Wannstedt.
The former Bears, Dolphins, and Pitt coach joined the show on 670 the Score to talk football. He was also there to unveil what he thought was a musical collaboration between himself and the two hosts. When Danny Parkins and Dan McNeil played the audio though, Wannstedt quickly found out that his vocals were isolated for multiple stretches during the trio’s rendition of “Silent Night.”
Wannstedt’s Pittsburgh accent gave us the merriest Yinz-mas carol you could ever imagine.
For my final column of the year, I want to tip my hat to the guys that aren’t afraid to have fun. We all love sports, but let’s be honest. They can become a drag when it is your job to talk about them everyday. Constantly talking about off field controversies and on field failures is draining. It can also become monotonous.
Let’s use 670 the Score as an example. What are Danny Parkins and Dan McNeil going to ask Dave Wannstedt about Mitch Trubisky’s struggles or Matt Nagy’s job security that hasn’t been asked and answered dozens of times already?
What made both of these moments possible, in addition to the hosts’ fearlessness and creativity, was a level of awareness. Back in May, Lance Taylor told me that he had inside knowledge that Nick Saban watched Game of Thrones. Dave Wannstedt’s voice is legendarily silly and since he launched a Cameo account, the internet has delighted in sending him requests to talk about making sandwiches. Parkins and McNeil had to know the former Bears’ coach would be willing to accommodate an off the wall request like performing “Silent Night.”
Remember earlier this football season when everyone was making a stink about that video where a reporter asks DeShaun Watson what he saw on a play that ended in an interception? Watson gave the reporter a detailed breakdown of the coverage he saw at the line and what he anticipated that meant the defensive backs would be doing after the snap. There was debate on whether the answer was Watson dunking on the reporter or just a guy giving a thorough and clear answer to the question that was asked.
You know what I saw when I watched that video? A guy answering a boring question in a boring way. Who do we think cares about DeShaun Watson breaking down what he saw from a safety before the snap?
Hardcore football guy cares and that is about it. Hardcore football guy is always going to come to your show. You aren’t helping grow your audience by constantly catering to hardcore football guy. Constantly catering to hardcore football guy sucks all the fun out of the room.
When I first started in morning radio my program director told me that every segment should either entertain, educate or enlighten the audience. That advice is fine, but really it should be “Every segment should entertain, and occasionally also enlighten or educate the audience.” I mean, for Christ’s sake, this isn’t NPR.
Your listeners know that you know sports. They know that you care about the teams and players you are talking about. Most of your interviews are going to include the questions they hope to get answers to.
Sometimes though, you’ll have a guest that presents you with an opportunity to venture down a frivolous and silly path. Take it. It’s not what your audience is expecting, and the unexpected is always what stands out.
Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC
“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”
NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade. A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well. However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).
NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season. NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.
NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.
Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.
Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.
If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.
“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”
Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.
Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm.
“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”
While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.
Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock.
Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week.
My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic. When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV. Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams. After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England. They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.
I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.
I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters.
By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.
Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.
This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.
Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.” NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.
Media Noise – Episode 45
Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.
6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio
“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”
For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.
Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?
Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?
Well, let’s go Digging for Gold.
The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.
Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.
If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way? I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:
- Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
- Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
- Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
- Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
- FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $
- Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months
The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details.
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