CUMULUS MEDIA Study Analyzes NFL Fans’ Use Of Radio vs. Television

Research Reveals Sports Play-by-Play Radio Listeners Are More Engaged than the TV Audience

Special First-Ever Nielsen Study Calculates Westwood One’s NFL Season-Long Reach of Play-by-Play Broadcasts at 56 Million Listeners

CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One released the results of a study on fan engagement with the NFL based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts. This first-ever analysis reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners.

“The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer, CUMULUS MEDIA. “The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.”

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Key takeaways from the findings:

  • GfK MRI reports the AM/FM radio play-by-play audience is more engaged with and passionate about sports than those who watch sports on TV.
  • Sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience.
  • AM/FM radio’s increased sports engagement means greater advertising effectiveness and impact: Compared to NFL TV viewers, NFL AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to agree that advertising provides them with meaningful product information and useful information about new products and services.
  • In the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the “best available screen” for employed and upscale sports fans: According to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale. Compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more.
  • Large portions of the NFL AM/FM radio audience listen away from home, according to Nielsen Portable People Meters.
  • While the TV viewing audience skews older, the NFL AM/FM radio audience is equally distributed across demographics.
  • The NFL on Westwood One reaches 56 million Americans according to a special Nielsen season-long analysis. Typically, Nielsen reports cumulative audiences for an average week. Weekly reach reporting only captures 13% of Westwood One’s total season-long NFL unique audience.
  • The NFL on Westwood One is a reach machine: Each week, new different listeners tune in: Over the entire regular season, Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play reaches 46 million different Americans. In the post season, Westwood One’s NFL coverage adds an additional 10 million listeners who were not reached during the regular season, lifting the season-long reach to 56 million.
  • Increasing the number of ads in the game causes campaign reach to surge: Ten ads per game reach four times the audience of one ad per game, according to Nielsen’s special analysis of the Portable People Meter audience data.
  • NFL AM/FM radio media strategy: Buy long in the season and deep in the game: Since new listeners are tuning in each week and new listeners are tuning in each quarter of the game, a smart media plan for AM/FM radio play-by-play sports broadcast requires many ads per game and season-long commitments. Buy long in the season and deep in the game.
  • Adding NFL AM/FM radio generates incremental reach to the NFL TV audience: Per the NFL “Fan Tracker,” among Millennial men, Westwood One NFL coverage adds +24% incremental reach to the television coverage and +18% lift in reach among full-time employed men 18-49 with a $75K+ income. Westwood One’s NFL coverage on AM/FM radio and the other audio distribution platforms reaches the NFL fan who is not exposed to NFL TV broadcasts.

*Half of Westwood One NFL audience is from AM/FM radio and the other half is from streaming/SiriusXM.

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