It was a busy sports weekend in Kansas City with rookie minicamp for the Chiefs, Lorenzo Cain’s retirement ceremony with the Royals, and the Advent Health 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was all broadcast on the Motor Racing Network, which Todd Leabo of Sports Radio 810 WHB’s The Border Patrol happened to be listening to while in Louisville to witness Mage’s Kentucky Derby win.
“Motor Racing Network does a great job – no questions,” Leabo said Monday morning on The Border Patrol. “We had it on the air yesterday, and NASCAR has maybe fallen in popularity in many places, but that was a nice crowd out there yesterday.”
Partially responsible for that drop in popularity has been the rise of F1 Racing, attracting athletes and celebrities including Patrick Mahomes, Tom Cruise, Elon Musk, Serena Williams, Shakira and Jeff Bezos.
Last year, the Miami Grand Prix averaged the same number of viewers (2.6 million) as the NASCAR races at the Darlington Raceway, marking the first time in history that had occurred. This has raised the question as to whether NASCAR will soon be overtaken as the most popular motorsport entity in the United States. The Walt Disney Company is reportedly paying $85 million annually on media rights for the F1 property through 2025.
“It’s not what it was 20 years ago or something when the track opened, but still, that was a really good-looking event and a good crowd,” Leabo said of the race. “There are plenty of times where you turn NASCAR on and they don’t even want to show the stands because it’s not many people there.”
Show co-host Nate Bukaty was broadcasting the morning program from Fort Lauderdale where he is staying in a hotel containing many people who traveled for the race. He came from Nashville, where he had broadcasted Sporting KC’s first win of the season yesterday on FOX.
“A guy and his whole family showed up dressed like they were on the pit crew for the Red Bull racing team, and they had the whole gear on; everything from head to toe,” Bukaty said.
“That sport is growing in leaps and bounds,” added Leabo, “and there’s only a few chances to watch it in America.”
Greg Hill: NFL, Travis Kelce, Taylor Swift All Working Together for Publicity Stunt
“I don’t think Taylor Swift needs the publicity.”
Are Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and the NFL in cahoots to drive publicity for each other? That’s what WEEI morning host Greg Hill believes.
During The Greg Hill Show Tuesday, the Boston-based host led a discussion about whether or not Swift was more popular than the NFL. Co-host Courtney Cox argued that it’s undeniable she is more famous than the NFL on the global stage. Meanwhile, colleague Jermaine Wiggins argued the pop start isn’t even the most popular artist in America.
“The reason this came up is because of the massive fraud, charade that is being pulled on America by all of them,” Hill said. “And that’s Kelce, that’s her, and that’s the NFL. Who is it benefiting the most? I think Courtney is right. I don’t think Taylor Swift needs the publicity.”
Producer Chris Curtis claimed 2.5 million people in Brazil watched Super Bowl LVII, while only 2 million attempted to get tickets for Swift’s shows in the country. Cox argued that was an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Hill maintained the alleged relationship between Swift and Kelce is simply a ploy by the NFL to seek out a new potential fan base with Swift’s massive following.
Jon Jansen: If Taylor Swift Increases NFL Fandom, It’s a Good Thing
“The Lakers have been running this shtick for decades.”
As a luxury suite began to fill over the 45-yard line at MetLife Stadium, many fans in the lower bowl turned around to try to spot Taylor Swift, the Grammy Award-winning superstar who has made headlines in recent weeks for her alleged relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
NBC Sports also had several of its cameras positioned towards the box, ready to capture Swift’s body language and reactions to specific plays, especially touchdowns. Swift was shown a total of 17 times on Sunday Night Football, which reported an average of 27 million viewers and growth across the board in viewership from women.
With a devoted fan base of “Swifties” closely tracking her every move, major broadcast networks know that part of their audience is tuning in just to see her at the game. As a result, they have made it a point to accentuate how they implement her as part of the broadcast – whether that be through playing off her lyrics, explaining the basics of football or outright welcoming them on the air.
“I was on [social media] Sunday night, and there were people I know who are huge Jets fans say, ‘Enough already,’” Mike Stone, morning co-host on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, shared on Tuesday morning. “As a football fan; as somebody who’s watching the game, do you really care that much that they show her in the booth in the suite?”
“I don’t,” replied co-host Jon Jansen. “It doesn’t matter to me [and] it doesn’t affect my viewing experience.”
Jansen, a former NFL offensive tackle, understands that while continuously presenting footage of Swift may not be the most appealing to traditional football fans, it is helping grow the game en masse. Swift’s social media following surpasses that of the NFL, and her presence seems to be broadening the interest in the game aside from her interactions with Kelce.
“If you’re going to bring in a whole new demographic – not that all of them are going to stick around; some of them are there just there because it’s Taylor Swift [and] they’re huge fans,” Jansen said, “[but] ‘Swifties’ – if some of them are going to stick around, great – increase the fandom.”
Later in the show, Stone read several text messages from listeners with remarks varying from the fact that her fanbase would be unable to take over a stadium and the meager puns the announcers were making in relation to her songs.
“The Lakers have been running this shtick for decades,” Stone said. “It’s annoying, but that’s what networks do everywhere they go.”
Another message reversed the situation and asked how concertgoers would feel if Kelce and the Chiefs were brought up every five minutes. By acknowledging the contrasting demographics and differentiating interest levels in each topic, however, it only reaffirmed the point being promulgated by Jansen about the NFL trying to capitalize on the situation.
“Because Taylor Swift is jumping around because of a touchdown, [maybe her fans will think], ‘Well, why is she so excited? Can I be that excited about this?’”
FOX Sports Radio Added to Sports 1440 in Edmonton
“We heard loud and clear from our listeners that they wanted even more sports coverage, and now that’s going to happen overnights and on weekends with FOX Sports Radio.”
After debuting last month, Sports 1440 in Edmonton has bulked up its daily lineup by adding syndicated shows from FOX Sports Radio.
“We heard loud and clear from our listeners that they wanted even more sports coverage, and now that’s going to happen overnights and on weekends with FOX Sports Radio,” said Jackie Rae Greening, Sports 1440 Program Director. “We’re excited for their great team to join ours!”
The network’s morning show — Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn, and Jonas Knox will be heard from 4-7 AM. Additionally, The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon and The Ben Maller Show will be heard consecutively from 9:00 PM-4:00 AM. The entire FOX Sports Radio lineup will be heard on weekends in the Alberta capital.
The addition of the network lineup coincides with local programming being announced on Sports 1440. The Kevin Karius Show is heard from 7-11 AM, while Fantasy Frenzy with Halley & Douglas airs from 11 AM-12 PM. The Lowdown with Lowetide airs from 12-2 PM, with The Jason Gregor Show handling afternoon drive from 2-6 PM.
Sports 1440 is owned and operated by Stingray Radio. It is the lone sports station in the Edmonton market after the abrupt shutdown of TSN 1260 in June.