Forums » New Strategies for the 2nd Half of 2020

Friday Poll: How Are You Handling an Uncertain Sports Season?

    • 1377 posts
    July 23, 2020 11:51 PM PDT

    Friday greetings, everyone!

    One of the most concerning issues that radio stations are facing is the uncertain sports season ahead, and the lost billing that may result.

    How is your station handling this situation? What are you doing for your sports sponsors? Are you offering any alternatives to your traditional packages?

    We look forward to hearing what you're doing in your market.

    • 103 posts
    July 24, 2020 5:51 AM PDT

    We are very lucky with high school sports here in my small market (40,000 in the county). We have good teams in the county and the State UIL order is for our classification of school is not permitting fans in the stands. This gives us a captive audience, so to speak. This is just what we needed.

    We always go all out: every coach at every school in the county has a weekly summary. We have a pre-game analysis program. The have a post-game regional scoreboard that carries through Saturday morning. In a decent year we are having to create certain sponsorship opportunities in the game to satisfy all the clients wanting a piece of the action (sponsor opening kickoff in 1st and 3rd quarter, player of week, etc.).

    One of the things the station did after sports vanished was Friday Night Replay, airing games from the past where teams in the county won district or beyond. It wasn't a moneymaking deal. We just thought it was a way to at least provide some normalcy during the earlier lockdown.

    While only 2 days in on this year's packages, interest is exceptionally high. While plenty of clients might be thinking twice on having that sale right now, there is a clear understanding the high school football season is very symbolic as a sign of hope and return of some normalcy in daily life. While our county never truly shut down, compared to the metros, the longing for the pre-Covid days is strong. The overall feeling is a bit less uncertainty, partly because so many businesses have stayed in business after the first shutdown. We think sell-out is certainly a possibility. I have about 14 or 15 businesses ready to roll. In fact, I would say about 35-40% of my billing (based on current totals) will be due to high school sports. Normally it would be about 20%.

    • 3 posts
    July 24, 2020 6:21 AM PDT

    High School Football is usually very big for us.  We are just starting to sell a package we've come up with, so we don't yet know how well it will be received, but we think it's a good idea.

    Our county has put all sports on hold.  We don't have any indication of when (or if) they will allow any sports and under what conditions.  We have clients who sponsor high school football for community support and others that do it for the exposure.  Our package addresses both of those.  We are offering a package at the same price as previous years (so for those who budget it annually it's easy).  Once they sign up, we start running a daily schedule, equal to the dollar value of the football package.  They can use this schedule to show support and encourage players and members of the community that while we have to wait for football, it will return and they will be supporting the schools and the athletes regardless of when they play.  Or, the sponsor can use the schedule to run regular commercial messages, whichever they prefer.  Then, when football starts, the schedule ends and football sponsorship begins.  They don't have to do anything and billing doesn't change.

    We are just now starting to work on this, but we believe we can use this approach to serve our clients, our community and preserve some fall sports billing.

    • 10 posts
    July 24, 2020 11:01 AM PDT

    We are expecting our State to allow High School sports but without fans.  We have been in contact with all our area schools (7 total) about offering to live stream video and audio of all these games on our website.  We will still offer our usual Friday night schedule, but then include ALL schools streaming.  We will have ad packages for all communities.