Things have not been so great to start the 2022 season for Boston Red Sox infielder Trevor Story.
The former Colorado Rockies slugger was booed by fans at Fenway Park last week after striking out four times in a shutout loss to the L.A. Angels. He’s currently batting .194, has not hit a home run yet and has only driven in 10 runs.
Story did not take questions from the media following the game and instead opted to put in some work in the batting cage. Some covering the team felt like the team’s recent big free agent signing was ducking interviews.
Over on WEEI, Lou Merloni said he felt like there’s been a huge rush to judgement over Story given such a small sample size. Story needs more time to really figure out if he’s a good fit.
“We did not judge Carl Crawford. That first month wasn’t pretty at all, but I would say it took a while before we said that this kid can’t play here,” Merloni said. “I think if you sit back and watch (Story), you’re gonna be just fine because the kid can play some defense and he will swing it eventually.”
Co-host Christian Fauria felt like Story wasn’t ducking anyone. He asked a source who covered Story extensively while in Colorado and was told that typically Trevor will start off slow as he begins to get acclimated to the new situation. His source also stated that Story never had an issue with media in the past and always did interviews.
Fauria explained Story hasn’t been given a fair shake with the season still really only starting. Plus, it’s not like he’s the only guy in the locker room not carrying their weight at the moment.
“The fact that he’s struggling while everybody else is struggling is kind of making him the focal point of the problem,” Fauria said. “So it’s an easy mark-up when I think about it. It’s like, whoa, whoa let’s talk about some of the other guys first.”
Co-host Meghan Ottolini chimed in on the side of Story trying to avoid media questions. But Merloni said if that’s the case, someone with the team’s PR staff will get it sorted. He called it a learning experience for Story.
“I think he just learned a lesson yesterday. Not here,” he said. “And I think someone will talk to him. We’ll see if he keeps doing it, which I doubt.”
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.