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What Makes Listeners Care About National Stories?

“The football topics are worth talking about, but ask yourself how much your audience really cares about an x-and-o breakdown of the Colts’ future.”

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I’m sure a lot of us spent Saturday night and most of Sunday thinking about what to do with the Andrew Luck story on Monday’s show. Despite the fact that so many people were locked into two exciting college football games on Saturday night, the second the 29-year-old All Pro quarterback announced his retirement from the NFL the headlines and our attention shifted to the NFL.

Image result for andrew luck retires

This is one of those stories that you’re going to talk about on Monday no matter what market you’re in. Even if you’re in Gainesville or Honolulu and you have to devote significant time to a close win to open the college football season, Luck’s retirement was such a dominant story on television and social media that you have to make time for it on Monday.

So what is the right way to talk about the story? Well, it really kinda depends on what your goal is, but there are two clear angles you can attack from – the football angle and the human angle.

Topics relating to what happens next on the field are a bit limited. How does this effect the Colts’ playoff chances? Is Jacoby Brissett just keeping the seat warm, or is there a chance he could establish himself as the team’s long-term answer at quarterback? Who is the new favorite in the AFC South?

The football topics are worth talking about, but ask yourself how much your audience really cares about an x-and-o breakdown of the Colts’ future. If you’re on the Fan in Indianapolis or SiriusXM’s NFL Radio, your audience probably cares a lot and is coming to your station to hear that content. Maybe the same is true if you’re on in Houston, Jacksonville, or Nashville. Anywhere else though, and it is tough to imagine that yields you anything more than an 8-10 minute monologue.

Storytelling is the lifeblood of talk radio and human connection is at the center of building an audience. There are human interest angles to Andrew Luck’s retirement that not only cover what goes into a 29-year-old deciding he is too mentally worn down to continue in the NFL, but also will hit your listeners right in the feels.

Image result for right in the feels

How did this effect your listener’s fantasy teams? How about their futures bets? When did they first have that “everything hurts all the time” feeling? These are simple questions tailor-made for Twitter polls and text topics.

What about the guy that never got off the bench in high school? Surely he has some thoughts on how soft Andrew Luck is or how he lacks class. Those are two comments always bubbling just below the surface for football fans. Ask your listeners if they understand Luck’s decision or if he let his team down and watch the pendulum swing back and forth between empathy and contempt.

Even responding to hot takes is pure human interest radio. Surely you saw the flaming takes on Saturday night from either Dan Dakich or Doug Gottlieb or probably both.

https://twitter.com/dandakich/status/1165454716739956736

Let’s take these one at a time. First, Dakich’s Tweet is pure hot take nonsense that I am not even positive he buys into. Steel work, policing, and teaching are all hard work and are all tiring. None of them involve getting drilled into the ground over and over again by 300 lbs linemen. I am not saying playing football is harder. I’m simply saying that there is plenty about football that makes you just as tired as steel workers, teachers, and cops.

With Gottlieb’s Tweet, the word “millennial” absolutely sets off a visceral reaction in people. That reaction comes from both sides. The point is, it guarantees a reaction. Something tells me that is exactly what Gottlieb was thinking when he composed his Tweet.

Whether you are reacting to someone else’s over the top opinion or delivering your own, hot takes are all about emotion and reaction. That is exactly what you want from your audience. So, if you’re calling out Dakich or Gottlieb, let the listeners have their say too.

It’s not that the football angle isn’t important to the story of Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement. It just may not be the most important angle in your market.

Great sports radio that doesn’t come from ESPN, Fox, SiriusXM, or one of the other national outlets is built on passion from a local audience. There’s room for national topics, but before bringing national topics to a local show you need to ask yourself how you can get the best reaction from your audience.

The guy that calls into a sports talk radio show probably isn’t going to give you a coherent and well-thought out breakdown of the Colts’ QB depth chart. Give ask listeners how they feel about a story or an opinion though and you’re more likely to create interesting content.

All sports fans like action, some sports fans like stats, but everyone loves a good story. If you want to create maximum interest in a topic and give people that may not be die hard sports fans a reason to stay on your station and hear what you have to say about a story that has no local connection, focus on the human interest parts of the story and use the stats and football angles to deepen the narrative.

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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