Justin Turner getting pulled from the Dodgers lineup in the eighth inning of World Series Game 6 was strange. Finding out Turner received confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test mid-game was categorized as “that’s so 2020” and seeing the third baseman return to the field without a mask was poor judgement.
Turner was vilified by baseball fans and the media for disobeying coronavirus protocols, but Chris Russo took a different approach during his Wednesday afternoon show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio.
“I know everybody wants to pile on,” Russo said near the top of his show. “All the sanctimonious media guys all over America, writing from their living rooms in their homes, most of them not even in Arlington. They want to pile on. Go ahead, pile on, I’m not going to do it.”
“The Dodgers don’t care. Dave Roberts does not care,” said a fired up Mad Dog. “So if Dave Roberts doesn’t care, why should I do the bidding? Why should I scream at the top of my lungs? Roberts is a cancer survivor! He doesn’t care!”
Russo acknowledged it was poor judgement by Turner to not wear a mask, but he also wants everyone to remember that winning a championship is life’s work for an athlete. According to Russo, if the Dodgers were aware of Turner’s positive test and still wanted him out on the field, then that’s their choice.
“It wasn’t like Justin Turner went on the Long Island Railroad, on a packed car, [knowingly sick], shaking hands with everybody and spreading it to 3,000 Long Islanders commuting into the city,” Russo continued.
Turner did not come out of isolated quarantine to celebrate with the Dodgers, he was already with them in the clubhouse, dugout and field all day. If he did spread COVID-19 to any team personnel, the damage was likely already done prior to their few minutes of celebrating on the field.
Russo also noted that had the Rays won Tuesday night, finding a time to reschedule Game 7 of the World Series would have been interesting. The entire scope of the series could have been altered depending on how long Major League Baseball would have been willing to push the game back for further testing, giving pitchers an unprecedented amount of rest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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”
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.