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Football Is The Drug And We Are The Dealers

“We are one week into the preseason now. That means fans have seen games and have something they can overreact to, which is something you know they are dying to do.”

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Pascal Le Segretain | Getty Images

The life of a sports radio host is easier with football. That is one of those things that any idiot knows is true, but if you say it with enough conviction, sounds like you are making a bold declaration. Just look at what BSM’s own Ryan Maguire wrote earlier this month about just how much training camp alone can mean to a station.

We are one week into the preseason now. That means fans have seen games and have something they can overreact to, which is something you know they are dying to do.

I asked three hosts just how much easier their jobs are this week.

Nate Kreckman hosts Kreckman & Lindahl on Altitude Sports Radio in Denver. He says that thanks to a sustained run of mediocrity, his head is full of ideas for the next show after every Broncos’ game.

Radio Row: 104.3 the Fan has a new program director and I have some advice  for him - South Stands Denver

“There are a slew of them, both micro and macro,” he told me in a text. And the thing about the Broncos being as bad as they’ve ever been for a sustained period of time, every detail can be repurposed into a broader context.”

At the heart of the Broncos discussion on most days is what the team can, should, and will do under center. Kreckman told me that hosts in the city have been able to build entire shows around the quarterback situation for over half a decade.

“The Peyton Manning decline was huge, Broncos fans spent all of 2015 complaining about the offense right up until the second the clock hit 0:00 in Super Bowl 50, the Elway-Brock Osweiler divorce, the Paxton Lynch whiff, the weird signings of Case Keenum and Joe Flacco, and the mostly down roller coaster that has been the Drew Lock tenure. Pepper in a fair amount of criticism for the most popular sports figure in the state’s history (Elway) and the ownership debacle, and the Broncos have been one of the NFL’s biggest soap operas for going on 6 years now.”

Things are a little different in Charlotte, where Nick Wilson hosts WFNZ’s mid day show Nick & Stan. Things are still pretty easy for him the morning after a game. He says pre-season or regular season, a host should come in with the same mindset.

“You have a wealth of topics and sound,” Nick says. “Your job is to not screw it up.”

Nick Wilson becomes twerking sensation on Mix 107.9 | WFNZ Radio

Charlotte doesn’t have the appetite for the Panthers that Denver does for the Broncos though. In fact, Nick says that he is noticing a real shift in the Queen City’s sports hierarchy.

“This is the least Panthers interest I’ve seen yet,” says Wilson, who has been in the market since 2019. “They haven’t been to the playoffs for 3 years, moved on from Cam Newton & Ron Rivera last year (and virtually all other veterans) and their quarterback selections have been less than desirable or not-at-all exciting. This is the first time I’ve seen Hornets excitement surpass Panthers excitement.”

Look 180 degrees from where Kreckman and Wilson stand on doing a show after the first preseason game and you will find Philadelphia’s John Kincade.

“I don’t find it that easy,” the morning host on 97.5 The Fanatic says.

Kincade doesn’t like talking about individual games. He prefers looking at storylines and the storylines that excite himself and his listeners involve players that they are going to see with regularity during the season. He says the sample size of content featuring those players is too small in the preseason.

“When we started the show on Friday, because the Eagles played Thursday night, I asked did anything you saw change what you think this team is going to be.”

He, rightfully, didn’t put much stock in seeing the team take the field for the first time. Jalen Hurts took a total of ten snaps. Rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell touched the ball four times. Fletcher Cox made a single tackle. It is fair to say no one outside of the Eagles’ building knows anything about this team yet.

“I said if your opinion moved one way or the other by any more than a single game, you are overthinking it,” Kincade says.

This is Philadelphia though and we are talking about the Eagles. John Kincade may not take as many phone calls as other hosts in the market, but you can bet there were things he paid attention to and wanted to tell listeners. He shared thoughts on Nick Sirianni’s personnel groupings and how the first time head coach divvied out playing time.

No matter how you view the preseason, football absolutely makes our lives easier in this business. It is America’s great unifier at the water cooler. Maybe not everyone has the same opinion, but everyone wants their opinion heard because they know everyone else has an opinion too. It’s a virtually guaranteed point of connection!

Nate Kreckman knows his audience wants to find reason for hope. Nick Wilson knows he has the tools to make a burned out fan base react. John Kincade is going to talk you off a ledge until he can’t find a reason to. Football makes Americans nuts, and when Americans are nuts, they need someone or something they can shout at, to, and with. That’s when we shine!

BSM Writers

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.”

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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.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

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.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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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.

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BSM Writers

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.”

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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?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

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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