Radio listeners much more interested in sports betting than television viewers


Last week Cumulus Media – America’s second largest radio network, owning 413 different radio stations in 86 different markets – announced a partnership with WynnBET which will bring the sports betting app to the attention of over 250 million listeners.

This deal shouldn’t have been as shocking as it was at the start of the week, in a pair of studies commissioned by Cumulus and managed by MARU / Matchbox, AM / FM radio listeners have been found to be more interested in sports betting than viewers – and the numbers weren’t particularly close.

For example, 42% of radio listeners have placed a sports bet online, compared to 28% of viewers. In addition, 52% of radio listeners say they are interested in online sports betting, against 28% of viewers.

Even more surprisingly, 64% of radio listeners can name a sportsbook brand online, compared to 53% of viewers. It’s a bit shocking, as in the first quarter 2021, sports betting companies spent $ 153 million on local television advertising, compared to $ 4 million for local radio stations.

But if the Cumulus Study turns out to be correct, don’t be surprised to see radio stations fill up – and more – with sports betting ads in the very near future.

“Radio is a mysterious medium, and any research that claims to have precise numbers, I still consider it suspect because there is such a high degree of estimation in radio research,” said Michael Harrison, editor. chief and editor of Chatterers magazine, which has covered talk radio since 1990. “There is no ticket office, you don’t sell things over the counter. That being said, I found it very intriguing that the listener of the radio was more inclined to play than the viewer. And that is the premise of the study. So I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think maybe that’s true because the person who consumes sports on the radio is probably a more serious fan of the sport for information purposes than the person watching it. on the television.

Part of the study confirms this, with “light” viewers being more likely to be interested in online sports betting than “light” radio listeners, but those numbers switch when it comes to “viewers”. heavy “versus” heavy “” radio listeners.

Game by game

Another part of the study looks at Nielsen / Scarborough scores comparing sports broadcasts and the propensity of radio listeners and viewers to bet on sports.

And consistent with the results so far, people who watch the game on the radio are much more likely to bet on the sport than those who watch the game on TV.

In fact, people who listen to play-by-play radio are almost twice as likely to be sports bettors as people who watch games on TV.

“There’s probably a big overlap between the two, but the person who goes out of their way to listen to a game on the radio… well, you don’t see what’s going on,” Harrison said. “They are obviously, by nature, more interested in information about the game than necessarily the pleasure of just watching it. And if you’re more interested in information, you’re probably more inclined to bet. Someone who listens to sports is probably more likely to bet than someone who watches sports because they are more interested in the data and details than in the fun of watching the game.

Overall, according to the study, listeners to AM / FM radio are 50% more likely to have placed a bet online and are 85% more likely to be interested in sports betting than viewers.

And among people who already bet on sport, 40% consider themselves to be heavy listeners to the radio against 30% who say they are heavy viewers.

FanDuel, DraftKings lead the way

Unsurprisingly, as anyone who listens to the radio (or watches TV) can attest, FanDuel and DraftKings have the most notoriety among radio listeners, according to the report.

But even this area points to massive growth, both for sports betting operators and for radio station results.

When asked, unaided, what sports betting apps come to mind, 22% of respondents answered DraftKings, 19% said FanDuel, 8% said BetMGM, and the others got a few votes. But the biggest takeaway? More than half of those polled – and they were all in states where sports betting is legal – couldn’t name a single operator.

And when given the list of sports betting operators, heavy radio listeners were significantly more likely to know more brands than heavy viewers.

One final interesting nugget from the study: While 70% of sports radio listeners said they were interested in sports betting – it’s no surprise – some of the other formats have listeners who are almost equally intrigued by betting athletes, including 68% of urban listeners and 60% of alternative radio listeners. These numbers skew young people, as the people least likely to be interested in sports betting were fans of classic rock (39%) and fans of classic hits (33%).

But when it comes to Harrison, the marriage of radio and sportsbook operators will only grow stronger in the months and years to come.

“I just think that radio can do everything possible to get into the sports betting industry, using its influence on people as a means of communication as a lever and its corner to enter this industry,” he said. declared. “Anyone who knows anything about human nature, the law and business knows that this is going to continue to be an area of ​​growth. From a business standpoint, legalizing sports betting is perfect for radio, and radio is now at a time when it seeks new sources of revenue to go beyond the standard advertising paradigm.


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