New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees set off a media firestorm with his comments about the American Flag in the light of racial unrest over the death of George Floyd. Brees referenced some NFL players’ protest of police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem before games.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said in part. “Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the National Anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both (were) risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.”
Rob Parker of Fox Sports is one of the biggest detractors of Brees statement and vented his feelings on Wednesday night’s broadcast of The Odd Couple.
“The comments by Drew Brees really cut me deep today,” a passionate Parker said. “Just stop it. This is NOT about the flag. It never has been. Colin Kaepernick told us a million times it wasn’t about the flag. So stop it already with this nonsense! Drew Brees is part of the problem. Those comments are disingenuous and wrong. If anyone brings up the flag, you should denounce them, discount them, and disregard them. It’s an excuse that’s all it is… I want Drew Brees to denounce racism, denounce social injustice, and talk about the issue at hand… This whole thing when people bring up the military – your patriotism, I’m sorry, is not going to hide your racism… Drew Brees is exhibit A on what is wrong with this country.”
Brees’ teammate Malcom Jenkins also released a video statement telling Brees to Shut the f*ck up and that he no longer considered the two friends. Jenkins then released a second video that softened the tone of his message and it received tweets of support from Fox Sports personalities Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor among others.
On Tuesday morning, Brees issued an apology on his Instagram account saying, “In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered on the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”
Parker seemingly accepted Brees apology tweeting out Tuesday morning that he was glad to see Brees apology and adds:
“Let this be a lesson to all not willing to hear or recognize the black and brown man’s plight. Unlike four years ago, the narrative will NOT be changed this time. Stick to solving the problems at hand – police brutality and social injustice.”
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.