Whenever NFL Training Camp comes around, most people look forward to seeing which team is on HBO’s Hard Knocks, which players will be followed as they try to make the team, and what the storylines are going to end up being.
The show’s director, Shannon Furman, was a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast earlier this week. He provided some of those answers.
In order to determine which players the show ends up featuring, they do tend to look at a player’s social media to see how interesting they are, but that isn’t all that factors into deciding who gets how much airtime.
“We have the big meeting before we come to camp. We research everyone on the team. We stalk Instagrams. We figure out kind of what everyone is interested in off-the-field, their background on-the-field. We have guys who we’re targeting, but then a lot ends up being based on what happens in games. We do go into it with a good idea of who we want to feature and the games end up narrowing that down for us.”
It is not easy for the Hard Knocks production team to figure out how to condense all of the footage they get into one-hour episodes each week. In fact, it was tougher for them this year because there was a lot of time between training camp beginning and the Dallas Cowboys first preseason game, according to Furman.
“We usually say we shoot about 400 hours for every hour that is on TV,” Furman says. “Liev [Schreiber] narrates it at 9 AM EST, the day that the show airs. We usually say our deadline is Saturday night at 10 PM ET, unless it is national news, then we have to get it in. You are just in constant communication with the people at home, letting them know what is happening.”
Contrary to what some might think, there aren’t cameras and microphones in every room at training camp. Furman mentioned that they do have to decide which rooms to have cameras and mics in.
When it comes to cut day, Furman says even if it is good television, that doesn’t mean the Hard Knocks crew looks forward to it.
“A moment like that, we like to work with the players and the team on stuff like that. We hate it just as much as they do. We become friends with everyone on this show.”
This year, the Dallas Cowboys are the featured team on Hard Knocks for the third time. You can catch new episodes every Tuesday night at 10 PM ET on HBO.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.