By Chris Pendl
SEATTLE — If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another day part on your station.
Arbitron tells us that MLB drives cume increases anywhere from 50%-65% on flagship stations when the baseball season starts. This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play by play is the closet thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.
A few years ago in Seattle, we decided to take a different approach to how we used our in-game promotional inventory during Mariner broadcasts. We wanted something that was more dynamic than a recorded promo — something that cut through and made the listener feel like someone was watching the game with them.
The two audio examples below are the result of what we came up with. We call these “situational baseball return liners” and they’re comprised of two components: a set up and a payoff.
At the start (and throughout the baseball season), our hosts will record around 30 situational set ups. These are short (around :03-:05) and are used to quickly acknowledge the current game environment.
The second component of these is the payoff. These are a little longer, recorded daily, and confined to one thought/call to action to drive a listening occasion.
These are combined “on the fly” during our Mariners’ broadcasts by a board operator using a little baseball IQ.
To maximize our opportunities to air these situational liners, we’ll sometimes split our :30 promo avails into two :15s. A slightly-augmented version of these can also be used as part of a station ID.
If you have a board operator during your play-by-play broadcasts, look into implementing something like this. What have you got to lose?
Chris Pendl is the Creative Director at Bonneville Seattle and can be reached at email@example.com