ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score are often involved in a close race for sports radio bragging rights in Chicago, and the summer book was no exception. The numbers for both brands were stable for the most part, but the return of sports and a few lineup changes have both brands optimistic about the future.
The news was a little bit brighter though for ESPN 1000 in the key demo of Men 25-54, as the station won most dayparts head to head against their local rival including winning all three summer months with M-F 6a-7p. 1000 beat The Score in July 3.3 to 2.8, in August 3.1 to 2.5, and in September 3.0 to 2.6. The Score did record a victory for the full week M-SU 6a-Mid, edging 1000 for the book 2.9 to 2.5.
In mornings, ESPN 1000’s new duo featuring David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood are off to a strong start, topping their local sports radio competition since their August debut. For the full summer book, ESPN 1000 did a 3.5 share from 5 – 10a. Their new lineup, which began during the final month of the book features ESPN Radio’s national morning show Keyshawn, J-Will & Zubin from 5 – 7a, followed by Kaplan and Hood from 7 – 10a.
In comparison, 670 The Score trailed ESPN by almost a full point in the morning hours. From 5 – 7a, The Score earned a 2.7 share, and from 7 – 10a, they did a 2.5 while going up against ESPN 1000’s first local morning show in decades. During those hours, The Score features Mully & Haugh from 5 – 9a, and the first hour of Dan Bernstein’s midday show.
From 10a – noon, ESPN 1000 finished ninth with a 3.5 share. The first two months of the book still featured Kap & Company in the late morning timeslot, but the station’s new lineup saw Carmen & Jurko move to the 10a – noon block as of Aug. 17. The Score, which airs The Dan Bernstein Show during the 10a – noon hours, earned a 2.3 share.
The Score’s highest rated daypart during the summer quarter came in the noon – 2p hours, where Laurence Holmes has proven the ability to perform well with or without sports, earning a 3 share. ESPN 1000, which previously aired Carmen & Jurko in the noon – 2p hours and now features Mike Greenberg’s national show, did a 3.2 share for the summer book, narrowly beating Holmes.
Rounding out the weekday lineup, ESPN 1000’s afternoon duo of Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman finished tied for 13th with a 3.1 share, an increase of more than a full point from their spring performance. Even better than that was the recent news from Silvy, announcing last week that his cancer is in remission. Despite being diagnosed with the disease in April, Silvy continued to co-host ESPN 1000’s afternoon show in both the spring and summer books.
The Score meanwhile finished 16th from 2 – 6p as their afternoon show with Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins earned a 2.6 share, down half a point from the spring book. The Score has since fired longtime afternoon host Dan McNeil for an insensitive tweet, but that lineup change took place after the summer book was complete.
The evening block was The Score’s big win, topping ESPN 1000 by almost three points from 8p – midnight and almost five points in the 7pm hour. In the summer ratings period, The Score did a 6.1 during the 7pm hour and a 4 share from 8p – midnight. ESPN 1000 did a 1.2 in the same block.
Another positive for The Score was their cume, which was higher than their competitor among daytime shows with Men 25-54. They also held head to head advantages with Men 18+.
The Score serves as the Chicago Cubs flagship radio station, signaling the importance of baseball radio rights in the market. The station also airs Chicago Bulls basketball, which could see improvement with Billy Donovan now in place as the team’s new head coach. ESPN 1000 on the other hand is reportedly close to a deal with the Chicago White Sox to begin airing their games starting with the 2021 MLB season. Adding Sox baseball may not help the station win the nighttime matchup, but it should make things closer.
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.