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Canadian Sports Radio Struggles Cause Surge In Digital Content

Personalities are learning to adjust in a volatile time for Canadian sports talk radio.

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The pandemic has hit radio stations everywhere, and Canada is no different. In February, Bell Media announced they were closing three of their seven sports talk stations. They also don’t have a Toronto Blue Jays radio crew for the first time. 

It’s not just Bell Media either, lack of advertising revenue and an increase in the work from home population has the Canadian Association of Broadcasters projecting around 200 radio stations could close down in the country. All of this volatility has led Canadian sports personalities away from traditional media.

The Athletic talked with a few of them, including Ashley Docking and Andrew Paterson, about their ventures. 

Docking formerly co-hosted the morning show on 590 The Fan in Toronto but left the station in 2020. She now creates postgame TikTok videos following Raptors games. The project started in January and has boosted her reach on Twitter by one million impressions.

“It (media fragmentation) means you can diversify your offerings and can go after demographics that never felt included,” Docking said. “You can open the door for marketing dollars from companies that you just haven’t thought of yet.”

Paterson hosted an afternoon drive show in one of the shuttered TSN Radio markets. He launched the Winnipeg Sports Talk podcast earlier this month.

“I think the potential for this is massive. Our podcast numbers have been amazing. And we have all these TSN 1290 orphans in our chat room. People who used to listen to us on radio, and now they’ve shifted over here. It’s like we are a brand new community.”

Paterson and Docking are finding niche spots in the industry and capitalizing on them during a volatile time up north.

Sports Online

Women Downloading Sports Betting Apps Faster Than Men

“Mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year.”

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The sports betting space saw a surge of new participants come into the realm last year. The fastest growing population? Women.

According to data compiled by Global Wireless Solutions, a mobile insights consulting firm, new female participation in the online sports betting market is nearly doubling the pace of their male counterparts. In their findings, mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year. New male users were up too from 2020, coming in at a 63% increase in 2021.

These very large spikes start to make the $4.3 billion made in sports betting revenue in 2021 seem like just the beginning.

Some of the numbers can be explained by the sheer volume of new available legal bettors. In 2021, five states launched online sports betting (Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia and Wyoming).

This year stands to see even more of an increase with several more states implementing online sports betting (New York came online in January) and adding to their already legal retail offerings or at least deep into negotiations attempting such a feat as soon as possible.

Global Wireless Solutions also found the most effective sportsbook to bring new female users into the fold was by far and away FanDuel. That company signed up 1.7 million new female users while DraftKings attracted an estimated 900,000 new female customers. Men, according to GWS, still outpace women by 250% as a consumer base.

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Sports Online

Mike Francesa: Chris Russo Will Be On My Podcast

“When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

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WFAN legend Mike Francesa is settling into his new podcast opportunity with BetRivers, and has left the door open for a reunion with his longtime colleague and friend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Francesa was responding to questions on his show, with the newest episode out Monday, when he said he would be able to book Russo for an appearance down the road.

“Listen, I’ve gone on Dog’s shows a couple of times. I could definitely get Dog as a guest one time,” Francesa said.

The last time the two shared a stage and microphone was back in March at the BSM Summit. Francesa said he will make sure whenever Russo does come on, it will be at a time that makes the most sense.

“We will do that at an opportune time,” he said. “Maybe right before the football season or maybe late in the baseball season. When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

Whenever the reunion happens, best believe it will be a must-listen. It will mark the first time the two have been on a podcast together.

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Andy King To Lead Buchwald Agency’s Podcast Division

“The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.”

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Veteran sports programmer Andy King is entering the podcasting world. He has joined the Buchwald Agency. He will help clients develop and sell podcast ideas.

King comes from SiriusXM, where he had been since 2015. He was the director of sports programming and helped create podcasts for the company featuring high profile talent including Let’s Go with Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald and Digging Up the Past with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

Prior to joining SiriusXM, Andy King spent 15 years in Miami. Before leaving, he had risen to program director at 560 WQAM.

The Buchwald Agency largely deals with clients from the entertainment world. The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.

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