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Nick Kostos Expects More Media Groups To Bet on ‘Wagertainment’

“All sports fans think about these things on a daily basis. Literally, everything the casual sports fan is interested in intersects with something a bettor might bet on.”

Kate Constable

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Photo Credit: BetQL

The sports betting industry is growing at a rapid rate and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. As a result, the demand for quality content continues to grow alongside it.

Networks have made huge investments into their gambling-related programming, incorporating “betcasts” into game broadcasts, creating entire betting-related shows, and expanding gambling conversations into radio lineups across the country.

When it comes to the radio industry, Audacy has been the leader in setting the tone for how to best incorporate betting content into daily radio lineups, recently expanding their BetQL network to seven new cities.

Depending on which states have legalized sports betting, some local stations may have had related content on their airways for a while, but for those who are just starting to introduce gambling programming the challenge is finding a way to appeal to both the causal sports bettor and the advanced sports bettor.

“If we don’t speak to both groups, myself and “You Better You Bet” will have missed a major opportunity, and we aren’t in the business of missing opportunities,” said Nick Kostos, host of “You Better You Bet” which airs weekdays from 3p-7p ET.

Kostos, an industry leader in sports gambling, has coined the term “wagertainment,” which he says speaks to the goal of talking about sports betting in an entertaining and informative way that’s accessible to any type of gambler.

Expanding on the term, Kostos used the example of breaking down a line or player prop – something that an advanced bettor would be interested in –  and pairing it with information that provides game analysts – something that appeals to the average sports fan.

“Futures bets are another good example of this, too, because we answer the question all fans ask themselves — who’s going to win, and can we profit off that thought?” said Kostas. “That’s what betting largely is. Who’s going to win and by how many?

“All sports fans think about these things on a daily basis. Literally, everything the casual sports fan is interested in intersects with something a bettor might bet on.”

While most topics have a natural intersection between bettors and casual fans, there is a lot that traditional radio shows touch on that gambling hosts like Kostos don’t cover.  

“We never want to insult the intelligence of our audience with hot takes,” said Kostos. “We’re not debating legacies or asking manufactured questions that have nothing to do with what’s actually happening during the game. We’re not discussing lame topics like “LeBron or Jordan?” while there are NBA and NHL playoff games to go along with golf, soccer and baseball.”

While putting aside some of the hot take-style content – something that Kostos has loved about betting programming – separates traditional sports talk shows from gambling shows, the way he prepares for a betting show similar to a regular sports talk show.

“When we break down last night’s game, we don’t just do treetop topics, but we analyze specific player performances and how the teams strategized and how that might lead to opportunity in both the next game and the futures market,” said Kostos. “It becomes one big running storyline that’s updated on a daily basis. And we do it in an entertaining way that’s accessible to all. Wagertainment.”

Audacy’s BetQL lineup expanding into several different cities might be foreshadowing for what the future of audio betting content looks like.

“If companies are smart, they’ll add more betting content,” said Kostos.

He also noted that sports-talk in general has gotten way too far away from the actual discussion about sports, using the example of spending days talking about Aaron Rodgers when most all of the information was speculation.

“I believe as sports betting continues to grow, the demand for actual sports talk will once again become insatiable,” said Kostos. “So yes, I do believe companies will get more involved in the space. And I’m thrilled to be working for one, Audacy, that totally gets it in this regard.”

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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