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Dan Barreiro: Is Bally Sports+ Going To Be Worth It For Fans?

“When it’s isolated like that, [consumers think], ‘$20 for Bally Sports? Are you kidding me!? You’re out of your mind.”

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After much anticipation, Sinclair Broadcast Group has officially announced its plans to soft-launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service called “Bally Sports+” by the start of the third quarter of 2022, priced at $19.99 monthly or $189.99 annually.

Earlier this week, Dan Barreiro reacted to the news that Bally Sports would be available to stream outside of the DirecTV Stream package after the regional sports networks had been previously dropped by other streaming services. During his show on KFAN in Minneapolis, he wondered if consumers would see the price as fair.

“They don’t view it the same way psychologically because it’s one of many channels they get for an overall price they are comfortable with,” Barreiro said, referring to Bally Sports’ presence within a larger subscription. “When it’s isolated like that, [consumers think], ‘$20 for Bally Sports? Are you kidding me!? You’re out of your mind.”

The show’s producer Justin Gaard believes the new service could serve as a gauge by which to measure overall interest in streaming sports. He is curious to see what happens if subscription prices rise, akin to Netflix raising its standard subscription price nearly 20% over the last calendar year.

“What’s the cost? What’s the limit?,” asked Gaard. “Am I willing to pay $20 or in three years when they go, ‘You know what? It’s $29.99 now.’ Or, ‘It’s $39.99.’ You know it’s going to go up at some point.”

There exists an overall feeling of disappointment towards sports teams in the Twin Cities, creating a feeling of disdain among sports fans. “I don’t want to be paying an additional $19.99 a month to watch teams get bounced in the first round of the playoffs,” commented a KFAN listener. While the NHL’s Minnesota Wild are currently competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were recently eliminated in the first round – creating a dilemma Sinclair and other services like it will need to figure out.

Not all sports fans within the Twin Cities closely follow every team, meaning that they may wish to subscribe to Sinclair’s streaming service for part of the year. Barreiro wondered if that is going to be possible.

“There are some people that say, ‘Well, there are some sports I’m going to be interested in, so I’m going to go in and out of it,’” expressed Barreiro. “Will you have that opportunity, or will the Sinclair people say, ‘Not so fast, my friend. You’ve got a minimum commitment of a year.’ Otherwise, it’s going to be too easy for people to take advantage of the system.”

Sports Radio News

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.

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Streaming Radio

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.

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Sports Radio News

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.

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MLB Radio

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.

Radio Listeners to MLB

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.

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Sports Radio News

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”

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Jeff Dean Show

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”

Jeff Dean Facebook

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.

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