Internet increases lead over radio, print for U.S. fans' sports media consumption, says study

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 12:50pm

The proportion of U.S. sports fans that follow games and teams on smartphones and tablets has grown from 21% to 35% since 2011. Twenty-three percent of them say they watch video via mobile devices. This growth is apparently coming at the expense of radio and print sports media consumption, according to a study released today. 

Sporting News Media has released the third edition of its annual survey of sports media consumption in the U.S., based on online surveys of one thousand U.S. adults.

The Internet, in fact, is easily the second-most popular way to consume sports content (behind television) -- "now considerably ahead of print" (to quote the Sporting News press release) which, along with radio, has declined in usage for sports in the last two years.

See Sporting News' infographic based on the study's findings here. The press release is here. (h/t to Tom Taylor Now, who also reports on this study today)

ESPN keys success on building what fans want, and not waiting for advertisers to demand it

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 11:40am

There's a great article in Bloomberg Businessweek on the mammoth, multi-platform success of the ESPN empire.

(Big hat-tip to Fred Jacobs, who covers the piece in his blog here where he wrote, "ESPN’s approach, decision-making, and risk-taking are what separates it from other traditional brands – and provides great lessons for radio companies and their very best stations.")

Since its inception in the late 70s, and especially over the past ten years, ESPN "has moved aggressively into new media and platforms, without regard for how they may negatively impact the old. This strategy allows ESPN to squeeze more revenue out of any event it carries by selling that same contest in multiple formats, instead of merely broadcasting it on television." ESPN president John Skipper credits the success to a philosophy of "build, build, build. There comes a time when a lot of businesses become calcified, but we never stop building."

Just how successful has their embrace of new media, especially mobile, been? "The number of users per minute, which is ESPN’s internal metric, reached 102,000 in June, an increase of 48% so far this year," and an astounding 70% of sports content consumed on mobile devices comes across an ESPN mobile app.

Skipper credits NOT cordoning off "digital" or "mobile," but making it everyone's priority. He said, "We have one revenue group, we have one ad sales group, so you don’t have factions fighting against this new digital group. … We don’t have a lot of infighting. We have everybody incentivized so that it’s about the total amount of business we do."

And, they don't wait for an ROI before they actually begin building the business. "ESPN has invested in creating content for a platform before business exists to support it. John Kosner, executive vice president for digital and print media, says, 'We’re not afraid to be ahead of the market. You win by delivering what fans want, and then that becomes a fantastic advertising proposition and a great business.'"

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek article on ESPN here.

ESPN Audio is a finalist in both the "Best Overall Online Radio Service" and "Best Overal Digital Strategy" categories for this year's RAIN Internet Radio Awards (see all the finalists here). is a finalist in the "Best Streaming Broadcaster" category. We'll announce the winners at RAIN Summit Dallas this Tuesday. ESPN SVP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller revealed details of the then soon-to-launch revamped ESPN mobile app during his keynote address to RAIN Summit West this past April in Las Vegas.

MLB mobile app update includes Ford SYNC integration

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

MLBA new update for the MLB At Bat 2012 iPhone app includes support for Ford's SYNC AppLink dashboards. That makes it much easier for Ford drivers to stream radio MLB coverage from around the country to their car stereos.

The Next Web reports the app has been downloaded more than 5 million times this year. Read more coverage here.

NYT: Webcasters helping fuel "revival of a relationship between tennis and radio"

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

TennisRadio coverage of tennis matches -- that experience of "listening to the sound of balls being struck, spectators applauding, and an announcer’s description" -- flourished in the 1930s, writes the New York Times. But it "was nearly a lost experience before the advent of the Internet."

Now though, "a growing number of radio-style webcasts have begun appearing around the four major international championships, the Australian, French and United States Opens and Wimbledon."

That includes's Ken Thomas, who streams play-by-play coverage of tennis matches to perhaps more than 1,500 listeners online.

"I try to paint a visual picture of the match and its surroundings for the listener," Thomas told the NYT. "I want the listener to feel as if they’re sitting next to me having a beer and sharing a good time."

You can read the New York Times' profile of Thomas and the "revival of a relationship between tennis and radio" right here.

Sports radio fans into gadgets and streaming, finds Jacobs Media's Techsurvey8

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:00pm

Techsurvey8"Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter. They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave, and they deftly use the available tools."

So found Techsurvey8, the latest study from Jacobs Media and the first to include all radio formats (earlier surveys focused on just rock radio listeners, more RAIN coverage here).

The study found that sports radio fans are more likely to spend most of their radio listening time in the car, where they're also more likely to connect smartphones or mp3 players to the dashboard. "In-car listening is the next battleground," comments Jacobs Media.

Additionally, more than 60% of sports talk respondents own a smartphone and more than 25% have a tablet, found Jacobs Media. They're also more likely to download radio apps and prefer streaming audio on a mobile device.

Sports radio fans are also big Twitter fans. "While Facebook and LinkedIn are popular social media channels, Sports Talk fans lead the league for tweeting," found Jacobs Media. More than 50% follow a sports radio station and/or personality on Twitter.

New NBC Sports Radio Network to offer content on digital platforms

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 11:35am

The NBC Sports Group and Dial Global have announced their partnership to launch the NBC Sports Radio Network in September, featuring hourly sports news updates and full-length shows.

In addition to distribution to terrestrial broadcasters, the NBC Sports Network will stream live shows via,, and affiliate stations' websites. The network will also offer On-demand short-form audio content (via podcast, for example).

Dial Global will be the exclusive ad and affiliate sales rep for the network.

Earlier this year, NBC News partnered with Dial Global to create NBC News Radio.

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