Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis joined Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis on Monday’s Outkick the Coverage to throw his support behind the “We Want to Play” movement started by high profile college football players like Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, among others.
“Absolutely, without question, they should play,” DeSantis told Travis. “I’m not saying if for some reason they don’t feel safe, they should be forced to play. Just give them an extra year (of eligibility), but give them a choice and I believe a vast majority of student athletes will choose to play.”
DeSantis’ remarks come as the 2020 fall football season is in serious jeopardy. Two FBS conferences, The Mountain West and the MAC, have announced the cancellation of football this fall amid COVID-19, concerns while The Big Ten and Pac 12 are expected to make similar announcements soon. FCS football has also cancelled its postseason for 2020.
“From a practical perspective, it’s a no brainer,” DeSantis added. “Sports provide the most structured environment these athletes can have. By not letting them play sports, you are not helping with their development and you are not even helping them with the Corona Virus. They are likely to be out doing other things if not for sports… I would say that’s true for health generally. When you are a student athlete, you have access to medical care. A lot of them come from low income backgrounds, so it is harder for them to have access to the same type of care and they are being tested for the virus every day. I think the safest place for them to be is the college setting.”
DeSantis further argues that taking away sports from college athletes will have academic consequences, as well.
“I was a college athlete and sports was a big motivation for me to do well in the classroom,” DeSantis said. “I knew if I didn’t, I could not play. I imagine I am not alone in feeling that way. There are a lot of ramifications to think about.”
Amid making arguments as to why there should be a football season, DeSantis also praises Lawrence for spearheading the #WeWanttoPlay movement.
“What Trevor is doing is compelling,” he said. “He is speaking from experience and the points he is making are logical and well-spoken. That matters. To have someone of his caliber do that, people are going to follow that type of leadership.”
Throughout the rest of the nearly 30 minute interview, Travis and DeSantis discuss that most of the college age demographic who have the virus, display mild symptoms. Then the tone becomes more political in nature. DeSantis elaborates on Florida’s response to COVID as compared to other states’. He says that some media members are twisting statistics to “Increase fear, but if you peel the onion back, you see what is really going on”.
DeSantis was not the only politician to endorse the #WeWanttoPlay movement on Monday. President Donald Trump tweeted his support in a series of messages from his personal Twitter account.
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.