By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Radio Consultant
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — With 2013 expense budgets now in umpteenth revision, this reminder: Be there or be square.
After all the sub-freezing days and nights that chill much of the USA this time of the year – and various off-season trades and free agent signings – The Boys of Summer will be a welcome sound come March.
Yet too few baseball stations establish a presence at their teams’ spring training camps. Smart baseball stations are cheerleaders, and really smart baseball stations start cheering a month before opening day, when every team is in 1st place.
Five reasons this has value:
1. Baseball itself is a valuable franchise, possibly radio’s best friend. Do the math: For six months when habitual listening dips as listeners vacation and otherwise alter their lives, baseball brings:
• long-TSL tune-in (“vertical maintenance”), to…
• 162 three+ hour shows (“horizontal maintenance”), by…
• people who otherwise might not cume the station, in…
• what would otherwise be fringe evening/late-night/weekend hours,
• many of which are suspenseful,
• none of which are available from iPod or Pandora,
• all of which are on satellite radio (so YOU want to be known as your team’s station),
• and which are loaded with inventory that sells-without-numbers.
2. Listeners will remember listening. Being at camp is high-affinity, station-pertinent content that will lodge in diarykeepers’ (and advertisers’) memory when you say “LET’S GO LIVE TO ORIOLES SPRING TRAINING IN SARASOTA!”
3. It’s a money-maker, more baseball inventory. Bundle spring training coverage with regular season packages. Or bonus it as a closer for sponsors who commit early.
4. It’s a schmooze! Take those early-committing advertisers on a junket. You’ll be in solid.
5. It’s a spiff! The rep who writes the most early baseball business gets to host the junket. Or the advertiser could give away the trip, to a listener who registered in-store. There are pre-packaged tours.
Some super-smart stations that COMPETE with their market’s baseball station cover spring training to embarrass the no-show affiliate.
At least put-a-pencil-to-it. Check your team’s web site for pre-packaged tours.
See/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.