After much anticipation, Sinclair Broadcast Group has officially announced its plans to soft-launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service called “Bally Sports+” by the start of the third quarter of 2022, priced at $19.99 monthly or $189.99 annually.
Earlier this week, Dan Barreiro reacted to the news that Bally Sports would be available to stream outside of the DirecTV Stream package after the regional sports networks had been previously dropped by other streaming services. During his show on KFAN in Minneapolis, he wondered if consumers would see the price as fair.
“They don’t view it the same way psychologically because it’s one of many channels they get for an overall price they are comfortable with,” Barreiro said, referring to Bally Sports’ presence within a larger subscription. “When it’s isolated like that, [consumers think], ‘$20 for Bally Sports? Are you kidding me!? You’re out of your mind.”
The show’s producer Justin Gaard believes the new service could serve as a gauge by which to measure overall interest in streaming sports. He is curious to see what happens if subscription prices rise, akin to Netflix raising its standard subscription price nearly 20% over the last calendar year.
“What’s the cost? What’s the limit?,” asked Gaard. “Am I willing to pay $20 or in three years when they go, ‘You know what? It’s $29.99 now.’ Or, ‘It’s $39.99.’ You know it’s going to go up at some point.”
There exists an overall feeling of disappointment towards sports teams in the Twin Cities, creating a feeling of disdain among sports fans. “I don’t want to be paying an additional $19.99 a month to watch teams get bounced in the first round of the playoffs,” commented a KFAN listener. While the NHL’s Minnesota Wild are currently competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were recently eliminated in the first round – creating a dilemma Sinclair and other services like it will need to figure out.
Not all sports fans within the Twin Cities closely follow every team, meaning that they may wish to subscribe to Sinclair’s streaming service for part of the year. Barreiro wondered if that is going to be possible.
“There are some people that say, ‘Well, there are some sports I’m going to be interested in, so I’m going to go in and out of it,’” expressed Barreiro. “Will you have that opportunity, or will the Sinclair people say, ‘Not so fast, my friend. You’ve got a minimum commitment of a year.’ Otherwise, it’s going to be too easy for people to take advantage of the system.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Ken Carman: People Bored With Thursday Night Football ‘Just Going to Tweet About Al Michaels’
“The guy called the 80 Olympics. You think he’s going to sit there and try to put lipstick on that hog of next week’s game between Chicago and Washington?”
Social media may enjoy ripping Al Michaels for not showing a lot of enthusiasm on Thursday Night Football, but Ken Carman appreciates the broadcast legend’s honesty.
Friday morning on 92.3 The Fan, the Cleveland sports talker listened back to audio of Michaels casually promoting next week’s game between the winless Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders, who just lost a game by 34 points. Fans online began mocking him as disinterested or too old.
“I don’t like ripping on Michaels. I think he’s a legend. I’m not going to rip Al Michaels,” Carman said. “I think that people are just looking for something entertaining, so they’re just going to tweet about Al Michaels because it’s a 27-3 football game at that time. But Al Michaels…the guy called the 80 Olympics. You think he’s going to sit there and try to put lipstick on that hog of next week’s game between Chicago and Washington?”
Thursday night’s game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers was not particularly close. Carman said that Michaels could be forgiven for not sounded particularly connected during the broadcast.
He joked that while his radio partner, Anthony Lima, would be happy to oversell a bad game, Al Michaels isn’t going to do that. He wondered why that is a problem for fans.
“Ryan Day gets to be honest, Coach Prime could be honest, Dan Lanning. Everybody can be honest. Why can’t Al Michaels be honest? Let Al Michaels be honest. He could not wait to get out of there. And, by the way, that’s fine.”
Lima noted that Michaels is reportedly getting $15 million per year from Amazon. Carman said that does not change his mind.
“He deserves every penny of it. I don’t mind him taking that, And I don’t mind him telling you the absolute God honest truth. ‘I’m a legend of 78 years old, and if you don’t like what I have to say about this football team, to hell with you. I don’t care.’”
Rob Brown Moves To Mornings on The Fan Upstate
“It is the second time slot change for Brown since he first joined the station in March of 2020.”
Rob Brown is on the move in South Carolina’s Upstate region. He announced this morning that his show is moving into morning drive on The Fan Upstate.
With Damon Amendolara announcing his exit from CBS Sports Radio earlier this week, it left a hole for the station to fill. Operations Manager Mark Hendrix chose making drive time local for Greenville and Spartanburg residents over Maggie & Perloff, which moves to mornings on the network.
“Our big boss down the hallway, Mark Hendricks, called Lonzo and I down into the the real meeting room,” Brown told listeners Friday morning. “Not even the office like the actual meeting room, and he offered us the opportunity to become the new morning drive show here on The Fan Upstate.”
It is the second time slot change for Brown since he first joined the station in March of 2020. He was initially hired to be on from noon until 3. When the station dropped ESPN Radio for CBS Sports Radio, his show moved to 9 am to noon to make room for Jim Rome.
Brown called morning and afternoon drive “the two crown jewel spots” of a radio lineup. Being elevated to one of those spots comes with meaning that is not lost on him.
“It is something that, no matter what market you are in, by earning one of those two spots, it tells you that you have become not just a voice in that community, but an important one or a respected one,” he said.
Brown’s show includes producer Lonzo Writesel. He is making the move to mornings along with Brown on Monday, October 2.
Morning drive will come with a little more work. The Rob Brown Show will add an hour and run from 6-10 am. CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You will slide into Brown’s old time slot on The Fan.
Nielsen Study: NFL Games Just as Dominant on Radio as TV
“While these examples are far from a complete analysis of the NFL games on the radio, it does shed light on the dominance of the NFL on radio.”
We know that the NFL dominates television, but a new study from Nielsen shows the league’s radio ratings are no less impressive.
Inside Radio published the results of the survey, which show that if radio audiences were measured by show (as TV audiences are) as opposed to day part, NFL games are outperforming the highest rated stations in markets around the country. The data used reflected listening for persons 25-54.
During the 2022 season, Patriots games on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston scored a 23.9 share on average. That is significantly higher than the average share for Magic 106.7. The Audacy AC station topped the market during that time frame with a 7.4.
Even in what was a mediocre season for the team, New Englanders still flock to Patriots broadcasts in numbers that dwarf anything else on radio.
The same was true in Pittsburgh. There, Nielsen compared Steelers’ radio broadcasts on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh to the most popular morning shows in the market.
Randy Baumann, who is also heard on WDVE, leads the way with Men 25-54 with an AQH rating of 1.1. Steelers games drew an AQH rating of 1.9 with the same audience.
As you might expect, the best team delivered the best results in the study. In Kansas City, the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs averaged a 39.8 share with persons 25-54. That is nearly a 500% increase over market leader KC 102.1, which averaged a 6.8 share with the same audience.
Amongst men, the share was even larger. Chiefs’ games on 106.5 The Wolf averaged an astounding 46.1 share with many games topping a 50 share according to Nielsen.
“While these examples are far from a complete analysis of the NFL games on the radio, it does shed light on the dominance of the NFL on radio,” John Snyder, Nielsen Senior VP/Sales Director says. “Just because a fan can’t be staring into a screen during game time doesn’t mean he or she isn’t following along. And if broadcast radio pivoted to selling shows rather than dayparts, it’s a safe bet that like TV, the top-rated shows would largely consist of play-by-play broadcasts.”