WEEI will once again deliver some of the best football programming in the format thanks to a new agreement between the station’s parent company Audacy, and the New England Patriots. The two sides have struck a multi-year deal to continue their broadcast partnership, which calls for an exclusive continuation of “Patriots Monday” and “Patriots Friday” programming.
The content partnership treats WEEI to weekly conversations with New England Patriots six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots players on WEEI in Boston. In recent years, weekly player appearances have included Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Cam Newton. The partnership between WEEI and the Patriots started in 1995.
“We’re delighted to extend our longstanding partnership with the New England Patriots and continue giving Patriots fans exclusive access to their favorite team every week,” said Tim Clarke, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Boston. “We look forward to Coach Belichick and multiple veteran leaders providing perspective and game analysis that only they can share every week on WEEI.”
“For more than a quarter century, Boston sports fans have followed the Patriots on WEEI,” said Murray Kohl, Vice President of Sales, New England Patriots. “We are happy to extend our partnership and continue to provide exclusive access to interviews with Coach Belichick and many of our star players. The conversations that our coach and players have with the WEEI hosts each week provide a much different dialogue and insight into the personality than any other sports platform and has become appointment listening for many Patriots fans.”
One change this year from prior years, Bill Belichick will move his Monday appearances from afternoons to mornings. The Patriots head coach will now join WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” featuring Greg Hill and former Patriot Jermaine Wiggins weekdays from 6a-10 ET. The midday show “Gresh and Keefe” with Andy Gresh and Rich Keefe will continue welcoming a rotation of players from 10a-2p ET, including an offensive player, defensive player and a weekly special guest. The afternoon show, “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria,” hosted by Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni, and two-time Super Bowl champion and former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria, will feature a weekly chat with the Patriots starting quarterback between 2p-6p ET. “Patriots Friday” will also return with additional team-focused programming throughout the season each Friday.
In addition to creating Patriots-focused on-air content, WEEI has also struck deals with a number of NFL contributors. The station this fall will feature weekly discussions with Michael Irvin, Michael Lombardi, WFAN morning host and CBS NFL analyst Boomer Esiason, ESPN analysts Tedy Bruschi and Keyshawn Johnson, and NBC Sports’ Peter King.
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.