What is a sports radio station’s single most valuable asset? It is a simple question with a very simple answer.
It’s the talent. It has to be, right?
Why do shows get names like The Jim Rome Show or Toucher & Rich or Greeny? It’s because stations and networks want to make it clear to those broadcasters’ loyal audiences where their content can be heard.
This is not to say that sellers do not have plenty of value in their own right. They put just as much work into monetizing content as we do into creating it. Still, it is the voices that are heard on air everyday that are the real stars and get people excited about the brand as a whole.
That excitement isn’t confined to just listeners. Plenty of clients get excited by the talent as well. A lot of them are probably interested in advertising on the station because they listen. Tim Brady, sales manager of 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh encourages his sellers to involve talent in meetings as often as possible, because it can go a long way towards turning prospects into clients.
“If the prospect is a fan of the talent already it’s a no brainer to bring the talent along for an introduction and a discussion about how they can help sell their goods or services,” he told me in an email. “Meetings like this also help the talent know how to talk about and endorse the client’s business better than just being handed some generic talking points.”
It’s an easy decision to make when dealing with a prospect that is already a fan. While some sellers may have questions about when to involve talent if a client hasn’t expressed any type of fandom already, Brady considers it a good way to break the ice and get the ball rolling on figuring out what a partnership might look like.
From a talent’s perspective, there are advantages to meeting a prospect too. Anthony Stalter, afternoon host at 101 ESPN in St. Louis says he recognizes that there will always be nerves that need to be calmed when a business owner or manager is considering letting a station or broadcaster tell their story.
“I would meet with a client before the sale was finalized so that the client feels comfortable knowing their company or their product is in good hands,” Stalter said in a text message. “Ultimately, they’re taking a risk that we’ll represent their company with the same passion that they do so if we’re not on the same page from the start, then they won’t be clients with us in a few months.”
Jonathan Zaslow is the mid day host at 790 The Ticket in Miami. He says that he hopes sellers in his building would always default to asking for his help or input when it comes to closing a deal with a potential client. The outcome isn’t something he is worried about at that phase.
“I’ll tell sales to let me know when you’d like me to show up, call, whatever you’d like me to do that you think would help. But if I come to a meeting at the very beginning, and it turns out the client wasn’t very serious, or doesn’t really understand what we’re looking for, then our sales person feels like they wasted my time and feels bad. Of course, I tell them there’s nothing to feel bad about, and I’m perfectly happy to help.”
Gone are the days of talent shouting at sellers to leave them alone. Certainly there will always be times that someone oversteps a boundary. No one wants a seller coming in and asking them to make time to stop by a coffee shop on the way home while they are in the studio. But this is more of a team game than it has ever been before. Smart hosts know that taking time out for their sales staff is just good business.
How many times have we heard that radio, or really, the media in general at this point, will not make you rich? It is an endeavor you undertake because you love it. Well, if it isn’t going to make you rich and you really love it, then every penny matters. So what do you do? You chase, or when necessary you create, opportunities.
Stalter doesn’t think there is much of a guessing game here. It’s the communication business. If you can effectively communicate to a prospect why they should trust you, they are going to want to be in business with you.
“Even in today’s day and age, face to face is always best from a communication standpoint and they need to know that I’m going to provide them value. If not, why would they invest?”
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.