In Economic Turmoil, Sports Radio Shines


Vice President , Business Development

The Hollywood Report recently wrote a great piece about the durability and growth of sports radio. Even in the face of economic uncertainty, sports radio has proved to be solid gold for radio and television marketers.

The medium flourishes in every economic climate, and with over 27 million weekly listeners, sports radio isn’t going anywhere. For CBS Sports Radio alone, there are 777 All Sports stations that reach over 7 million consumers.

But it’s not just sports radio’s durability that matters, it serves as a compelling marketing medium because of it’s enticing demographic (25-54 males) and it’s geographic flexibility.

Sports radio is enticing to marketers for a few reasons. First, of course, is the strong male demographic that allows for better, targeted messaging.

Ad buyers, in turn, like sports radio because it delivers the elusive male demographic. “What advertisers are striving for is listener user engagement with the advertising, and the thinking is that sports program content is something the listener or viewer is passionate about,” says Kevin Gallagher, executive vp local activation at the Starcom advertising agency. “They are engaged not only with the program but the commercials as well. That engagement carries through commercial breaks because the listener is not going to turn off the game and switch to something else if they are really into that game.”

But it gets better. Sports radio listeners are also well educated with disposable income. 72% of CBS Radio Sports listeners have professional or managerial positions, and 60% of all listeners make over $75,000 a year.

And don’t forget local!

To paraphrase a saying about politics, “all sports is local.” And when local fans seek information and entertainment about their favorite team, nobody provides it like the trusted personalities of radio.

Sports radio has the amazing potential to connect local via trusted personalities. That hometown feel gives consumers a sense of confidence and drives engagement that make ideal conditions for integrated marketing. The Hollywood Report noted one compelling CBS strategy:

“You can also create value-added features,” says Ron Barr, who is a founder and on-air personality for Sports Byline USA, the oldest continuous sports radio network (on since 1987). “For instance, you will hear CBS award the ‘good hands’ wide receiver, or a brand will sponsor the player of the game. One of our sponsors wants to create the ‘Master’s Moment,’ so we’re creating a series of them.”

It’s not all about radio however. Sports radio is just one lucrative piece in a larger cross-platform marketing strategies. Today’s sports fan are consuming information in a wide variety of formats that work in tandem. Consumers checking scores on their phones, reading sports news on their tablet, playing fantasy football on their desktop and listening to sports talk in the car. These mediums are are hardly competing with each other. Any smart marketer needs to engage across these diverse platforms if they want to have any chance at breaking through to consumers.