Pat McAfee’s sports media ascension continues. One week after being added to ESPN’s Thursday Night College Football coverage and named a regular contributor on ESPN’s morning show ‘Get Up’, the former Indianapolis Colts punter is said to be finalizing a multiyear deal with DAZN and Westwood One for a daily two-hour show. The plan is for the program to begin airing on September 9th.
As first reported in the Hollywood Reporter, The Pat McAfee Show will launch on Westwood One in 40 markets. He will have profit participation on the radio show. DAZN will license and produce the video version of it.
“Many fans consider Pat McAfee to be the most likable sportscaster,” said Jamie Horowitz, Executive VP of content at DAZN. “He has a self-awareness that’s hard to teach. That’s why he’s beloved — because he is of the people.”
McAfee will have a full schedule to manage. He’ll host his radio show from Indianapolis Monday through Wednesday, from the city where Thursday Night’s college football game on ESPN takes place, and then from New York, on Friday where Get Up is based. Additional on location shows will be added to support DAZN’s marquis boxing and MMA cards and to appear as a contributor on the company’s nightly baseball show ChangeUp, hosted by Adnan Virk.
One extra perk for DAZN includes having McAfee create football segments for DAZN Canada and Germany. The company will also add a video version of his popular podcast which will increase to three times per week.
McAfee’s media career began to take off initially in 2017 when he signed on with Barstool Sports. He’s worked on multiple NFL games for Fox Sports and has a multiyear deal in place with the WWE where he serves as an on-air personality for WWE events.
“He’s humble, even though he’s been an elite athlete in a locker room full of elite athletes” added Westwood One’s Bruce Gilbert. “He’s just relatable to the average fan. He’s a great storyteller. And he’s a younger voice finally in sports radio.”
“We’re just trying to give people a mental vacation,” McAfee points out. “I just want people to listen to us, and escape from whatever is going on in the world. I’m in a very lucky situation, everybody hires me and just tells me we just want you to be 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.