Chicago Blackhawks broadcaster Pat Foley is hanging up the mic after this season. The Blackhawks announced on their website that Foley’s 39th season in the booth will be his last. The broadcaster’s contract expires at the end of next season, making it the right time to retire.
“Listening to the great Lloyd Pettit fostered a love for the Chicago Blackhawks and broadcasting at an early age. To follow in his footsteps and broadcast for the team for nearly 40 years is a dream come true for a Chicago native,” said Foley. “Any kid who eats, sleeps, and breathes sports, grows up wanting to play for their hometown team. Thankfully for me, I realized early on that my playing career wouldn’t last beyond intramurals and that broadcasting was the next best thing to staying around the game. I have had conversations with the Blackhawks about my future, and because I cannot guarantee that I would like to continue beyond the length of my contract that ends after next season, they must look ahead. I support and respect their plan to transition the broadcast booth, and I’m thankful to the Wirtz family and the Blackhawks for this opportunity.”
The multi-time Emmy winner is calling a set schedule of games next season while also passing the torch to his successor. The Blackhawks said the search for their next voice is already underway.
“Pat Foley has been synonymous with Chicago Blackhawks hockey for well over a generation,” said Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz. “We are thankful for the memories Pat has created for our fans through the years, and he will continue to be a part of the Blackhawks family. We are excited to begin this search for a new television play-by-play broadcaster who will create Blackhawks memories for the next generation of fans.”
Foley has been on the call for a lot of great Blackhawks moments. He called the team’s games from 1980-2006 and returned to the booth in 2008, calling every season since.
“Pat Foley is not just a legendary broadcaster and great partner in the booth, but I’m proud to say he is an even better friend,” said Eddie Olczyk. “Two Chicago guys calling Blackhawks hockey for the past 15 years has been a dream come true for me, and I’m so fortunate to have that experience. I’m so happy for him to be able to go out on his own terms and so proud of what he has accomplished. Pat Foley will always be the voice of Blackhawks hockey, and we will be sure to entertain our fans and celebrate Pat this season.”
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.