Those people who closely follow the NBA know that there is bad blood between point guards Patrick Beverley and Chris Paul. Beverley took the feud to ESPN earlier this week, discussing Paul and the Phoenix Suns’ playoff exit on Sunday. Part of his criticism was related to Paul’s lackluster play and inadequacies on the defensive end of the ball, calling him a “cone” since they always remain idle.
“Go get someone who’s not an elite defender and have him up here talking,” said Beverley on Monday’s edition of Get Up. “Y’all got Patrick Beverley up here; I’m going to give you Patrick Beverley truth. I can’t give you the next man’s truth.”
Tuesday morning, Paul Allen welcomed SiriusXM NBA Radio and Mad Dog Radio host Rick Kamla to his show on KFAN in Minneapolis. They discussed how Beverley stood out across ESPN programming.
“When you go on an ESPN panel show, do you go hard…or soft?,” asked Kamla. “They’re not going to ask you back if you go soft and Pat [Beverley] is trying to lay the foundation for a post-playing career with ESPN. He’s got a big mouth; he’s got a lot to say; he’s very provocative… so I think he’s going to do very well in that space.”
Throughout the week on First Take, Beverley has been debating Stephen A. Smith, and at times, has been able to silence him during their discourse. That is no small feat, according to Allen.
“Patrick Beverley found a way to silence or quell the audible nature of Stephen A. Smith, which is miraculous,” Allen said.
Paul has been selected to nine NBA all-defensive teams throughout his 17-year NBA career, and has been named an all-star 12 times. While Kamla affirmed that his defensive impact is not what it once was, he believes that calling Paul a “cone” was perhaps hyperbolic on Beverley’s part, he still said it was valuable to ESPN and the audience.
“We need provocative stuff; we need guys to get outside of the box and give us interesting stuff, so I’m here for what Pat [Beverley] had to say,” explained Kamla.
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.