More information was leaked late yesterday regarding an investigation into the workplace culture of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, this time involving ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Schefter sent Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen a draft of a story about the NFL lockout for him to scrutinize before filing it to ESPN, referring to Allen as “Mr. Editor” in the correspondence.
On Wednesday morning, BMitch & Finlay gave their perspective on the news while on the air at 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., saying that Schefter’s actions were a part of common journalistic practice; that is, confirming details with or sending copies of stories to sources prior to publishing.
“Do people think that doesn’t happen often?,” questioned Brian Mitchell, a former NFL running back and return specialist. “You don’t want to say something wrong because the person that is your source is trusting you to do it right. Adam Schefter gets so many stories [that] I have to believe [Allen] is not the only person he’s done that with. As long as this story didn’t have some topless pictures or some other stuff, I don’t see anything that can affect Adam.”
As the Washington Football Team insider at NBC Sports Washington and co-host of BMitch & Finlay, JP Finlay was able to relate to Schefter in terms of the process of reporting and drafting a story. Finlay expressed that he has found himself in similar situations at his job, and looks at the situation as the beginning of what could be a profusion of information being leaked out to the media.
“It feels a little bit like we are at the tip of the iceberg with this Washington Football Team investigation,” said Finlay. “I want all the information. Everybody wants all the information. Now that these emails are leaking out, a lot of folks are clinging to this hope that something will be in there that will force Dan Snyder to sell the team.”
Schefter, who has been with ESPN as an NFL reporter since 2009, appeared for a weekly segment on “The John Kincade Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, Pa., and explained his perspective when it comes to communicating with sources in trying to formulate a story.
“I’ve learned for a long time in this business not to discuss sources, or the process, or how stories are done,” Schefter expressed on Wednesday morning. “But I would just say that it’s a common practice to run information past sources. And in this particular case, during a labor-intensive lockout that was a complicated subject that was new to understand, I took the extra rare step to run information past one of the people that I was talking to. It was an important story to fans [, and] a host of others, and that’s the situation.”
On 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay proceeded to speak about the implications releasing all of the information could have on the National Football League, and on the media coverage of the entire story. Jon Gruden, who had been serving as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, resigned from his position Monday after The New York Times reported that he had sent emails while employed by ESPN as an NFL. analyst containing misogynistic, homophobic and racist language.
“People have to understand those who would make Dan Snyder sell the team are those who are in possession of those 665,000 emails,” said Mitchell. “The information that came out from Friday until yesterday is probably being leaked by someone in the NFL office in New York. This is not somebody just, out of the blue, leaking stuff.”
Mitchell cautioned the National Football League in selectively choosing which emails to leak out, and which ones to withhold, saying that it could result in litigation on behalf of affected parties, including the National Football League Players Association, whose executive director, DeMaurice Smith, is a former Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C.
“The NFL is trying to protect [itself] more than [it’s] trying to protect Dan Snyder or anybody else,” said Mitchell. “That man that’s running the NFLPA — he’s a prosecutor. That’s what he’s been doing all his life. He’s a fighter; He knows how to litigate. He has propositioned [sic] the NFL. His next move won’t be asking the question again. His next move will be [obtaining] legal documents coming after you.”
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.