Sports Scores On Radio

The game may take less than three hours.  But the controversy and the debate can last all week.

Ask any SportsTalk radio station what their best season is and they’ll tell you it’s Football Season.  One weekly NFL game – or NCAA game in the smaller-to-medium-sized markets – can spark a full week’s worth of Monday morning quarterbacking and armchair coaching. 

The ratings show it, too.  Season-to-season, most SportsTalk stations capture their largest audience share in fall, when – outside of those few cities with a Major League Baseball team in the playoffs – football rules the day.  It’s also the time when advertising rates run their highest, jacked up by those higher audience figures and the licensing fees paid to professional and collegiate organizations for the rights to broadcast live coverage of the games.

“In game” advertising typically commands the highest spot rates on the stations, attracting national advertising dollars from brands seeking to leverage affinity through their support of the hometown team.

But stations have spun off an infinite number of non-game advertising and sponsorship opportunities to command incremental dollars.  The pre-game and post-game show.  The coach’s or manager’s show.  Prediction and recap shows.  Sponsorship packages for the insurance company who wants to be “Safe at Second” when a baseball player hits a double.  Promotions where a fast food restaurant gives free food when the team scores more than 30 points.  There’s no end to the possibilities.

Seeing no end to this trend, NBC Sports just announced plans to co-venture with radio giant Dial Global to launch a national sports network.  They’ll start with hourly sports updates and daily features, eventually launching weekday shows and slowly morphing into what they hope will be a 24/7 sports network to rival the 800 lb. gorilla ESPN Radio.

Is there room on the radio for another national sports network?  In most markets, yes.  A good number of the Top 50 markets already have two SportsTalk stations duking it out for listener loyalty, sports personalities and ratings.  Done well, a national entity with the resources of NBC Sports could give ESPN Radio a run for the money.

For you, the advertiser, this means more (and more creative) opportunities to leverage the lure of sports programming to support your brand.  The largely-male SportsTalk audience is fiercely loyal to their teams and loyal to their favorite radio stations.

So get out your playbook.  And pencil in SportsTalk radio for a starting slice of your budget.

Mark Lipsky is the President and CEO of The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above.Visit our website TheRadioAgency.com

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