A recent study from MyBettingSites Canada analyzed the Instagram following of all accounts belonging to NFL teams and their total social media presence from after the Super Bowl and the week following Thanksgiving this year. In that time, the company made a determination that the Kansas City Chiefs were the most influential NFL team in that timeframe, something that can be attributed to more than just the on-field success of the team. Bob Fescoe shared the study results on 610 Sports Kansas City on Wednesday morning.
Award-winning singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has attended six of the team’s contests, and the study stated that the numbers took off upon her first appearance in the suite from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Swift’s support of her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, catalyzed a gain of over 200,000 followers in the days after the first game she attended, which took place on Sept. 24. During that same week, Kelce’s name increased 920% in search, something the study presumes were fans of Swift investigating who he is. Over the total period of time, the Chiefs Instagram following has augmented 22% to 3.2 million fans as the franchise competes for another Super Bowl championship.
“It’s amazing to think the Chiefs have been on this remarkable run where they’ve picked up fans and [are] kind of the hot team and we’ve talked about jerseys being everywhere,” 610 Sports Kansas City morning co-host Josh Klingler said. “Did she just blow that out of the water in like two months?”
Klingler affirmed that Chiefs jerseys have become a common sight around the city and that the team’s success has compelled people to follow them. He is somewhat incredulous to the fact that it does not compare to the level of intrigue surrounding the organization since Swift began attending games. Broadcast networks have been cognizant of Swift’s presence at these games and documented her reactions to both touchdowns and turnovers.
“Taylor Swift’s bigger than the NFL,” co-host Bob Fescoe said, “and that’s not a hyperbolic statement; that’s the truth.”
Swift alone has 278 million followers on Instagram and releases music that frequently soars to the top of the charts. Fescoe understands the impact that she has and explained how he recently saw the results for Google’s Year in Search, which finished with Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin being the most-searched athlete and person in the world.
Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a game last season and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital to receive assistance from medical professionals. He was able to recover from the event and made a return to the field during Week 10 this season and was also honored as the recipient of the George Halas Award from the Pro Football Writers of America. Second to Hamlin in these results was Travis Kelce, who finished as the fifth most-searched person globally as well.
“I know people know Taylor Swift, but I don’t think people know what Taylor Swift has brought to Kansas City and what Taylor Swift has brought to the Chiefs and what Taylor Swift has brought to Travis Kelce,” Bob Fescoe said. “It has taken a great thing and made it 25 million times even greater than it already is, and if this relationship ends up going down the aisle and they get married and she ends up kind of settling here in Kansas City [and] starts doing a residency at T-Mobile Center or wherever the case may be, Kansas City’s going to blow up even more.”
ESPN 97.5 in Houston Announces New Lineup
“The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week.”
ESPN 97.5 in Houston announced they will have a new lineup starting Monday Feb. 26. The drive time slots will continue to feature John Granato and Lance Zierlein in mornings and The Killer B’s, Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank, in the afternoon.
In between the two shows will now have The Del Olaleye Show airing from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by Gallant and George with Paul Gallant, who had been hosting the early midday slot previously and Joe George, the station’s Assistant Program Director.
Earlier this week, Josh Beard and Michael Connor confirmed they had been let go from the station after being in the midday slot for just six months. George posted on X at the time, “So here’s the deal. The station had to make some very tough & unfortunate economic decisions last week. It has nothing to do with the quality of their show and work they did. Programming on the station will be weird this week, then back to fully local from 7 am – 6 pm on 2/26.”
Former Toronto Blue Jays Announcer Ben Wagner Named to Baltimore Orioles Broadcast Team
A release from the Blue Jays says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.
The Baltimore Orioles announced the club’s broadcast talent lineup for the 2024 season, which includes former Toronto Blue Jays announcer Ben Wagner. Wagner had served as the radio voice of the Blue Jays for the last six seasons before Sportsnet announced it decided not to renew his contract. Prior to joining the Blue Jays broadcast team, Wagner spent 11 seasons with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. A release from the Orioles says Wagner will appear on radio and select television broadcasts throughout the year.
The Orioles will continue to use guest analysts throughout the season, including Orioles Hall of Famers Mike Devereaux and Brian Roberts, as well as former Orioles Brad Brach and Dave Johnson.
Geoff Arnold will return for his fifth season with the Orioles broadcast team and will be the primary play-by-play announcer. Kevin Brown will be in his third season as the primary television play-by-play announcer for MASN.
Other team members for the 2024 season include Scott Garceau, Brett Hollander, Rob Long, Ben McDonald, Melanie Newman and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who will be in his 32nd season as an analyst and 61st year as a member of the Orioles organization.
Fred Toucher: ‘I Would Feel Weird’ if Rich Shertenlieb Reached Out to Me
“Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me.”
Fred Toucher is in the midst of co-hosting a new morning program on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Rob “Hardy” Poole. The Toucher & Hardy show made its premiere in January following the end of a 17-year run in which he worked alongside Rich Shertenlieb. Last November, Shertenlieb parted ways with the outlet that elicited questions and nostalgia from listeners, some of which continue to persist on the new program.
On Friday’s edition of the program, a caller asked Toucher about the last time he spoke to Shertenlieb and if there was still communication between them. The duo started hosting their radio program together at rock radio station WBCN-FM before making the move to the sports talk format with 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) for its launch in the summer of 2009. The caller wanted to specifically hear a “juicy story” and apologized if his broaching the topic was “a forbidden path.”
“I have not talked to Rich,” Toucher said. “I told you I got the text message the Saturday after they didn’t put him on the air anymore, and I haven’t talked to him.”
Toucher wondered who among former members of the Toucher & Rich program had heard from Shertenlieb, leading him to go around the studio and ask. Update anchor Jon Wallach revealed that Shertenlieb texted him on Thanksgiving Day to discuss how the music group Bell Biv DeVoe was performing, but he has not heard from him since. None of the others in the studio had heard from Shertenlieb in a considerable amount of time either.
“None of us were really friends with him so I don’t know what to tell you,” Toucher replied to the caller. “I wasn’t friends with him; I didn’t talk to him, so it’s not odd that I don’t talk to him.”
Toucher then began to hypothesize what would happen if Shertenlieb were to reach out to him. As he thought over such a potential occurrence, he realized that he would have a feeling in his stomach and get anxiety. He did concede, however, that if someone paid him a large sum of money to appear somewhere with Shertenlieb, he would do the 10 seconds.
“I would feel weird; I wouldn’t enjoy the process,” Toucher said. “Even if it was nice, I wouldn’t like it, so if he’s listening, don’t reach out to me. You’d make me incredibly uncomfortable. Just don’t do it.”
In thinking about the potential nostalgia from Toucher & Rich, the program briefly mentioned Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and his relationship with former co-host Mike Francesa. Toucher believes that Russo is doing fine without Francesa, a sentiment Wallach concurred. Wallach also shared that he feels Russo is doing better after Mike and the Mad Dog than Francesa.
Russo hosts a SiriusXM program on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel named after him, in addition to High Heat on MLB Network and a weekly appearance on ESPN’s First Take. The split between both shows elicited interest from the listening public, something Toucher completely understands because of the unique facets of radio.
“People consume you 20 hours a week or they conceivably could, so when there’s any change, your immediate reaction to it, even though it hasn’t been bad, a lot of people if you listen to an old thing all the time it’s going to be strange to you, a new thing, or when a component of it is missing,” Toucher explained, “even if it’s better than it was, which I contend Toucher & Hardy over the last three weeks is better than Toucher & Rich was in 2023 and 2022 certainly.”
The segment concluded with Toucher proclaiming that he had answered the question and now will not have to entertain it again. “I have no idea what he’s doing and no one I know does, and no one I know has seen him,” Toucher said. “I haven’t even had a listener email me and go, ‘I saw him.’”