BRADENTON, Fla. — These truly seem to be golden days for sales departments at sports/talk stations around the USA. The professional football schedule is in full swing with the play-offs in view, and college and university teams all over the country are aiming toward the Bowl Games. The collegiate basketball and National Basketball Association contests have gotten underway and pro-hockey players are skating up and down the ice. So participation in play-by-play presentations are well-sponsored. Then there are the pre-game shows, the pre-pre game shows, the coaches’ shows, the locker room shows, the post-game shows.
And special credit must be given to those stations and sports syndicators who have come up with unique concepts to find further ways to include advertisers within the sports action mania. Here are some of the ones I recently have heard during football play-by-play coverage: “The collision of the game” sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; “The injury time-out” sponsored by a medical group; “The gem of the game” (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called “The catch of the game.” It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.
Announcements such as these usually last no longer than 10 seconds leaving sufficient time for the sportscaster to describe what actually is happening on the field of play. They include no more than an identifier with name, address, phone number, website and conclude with a brief slogan or sell line. They usually are part of spot packages which are aired elsewhere in other time periods during the normal broadcast week with the full sell in a 60-second commercial.
Many stations depend upon the Thanksgiving and Christmas selling seasons to reach their annual budgets as retail sales outlets gear up to the maximum every year to attract customers. But sports talk operations have found a way to utilize the time within and around the game opportunities during this particular part of year for the added revenue they can produce.
Yet there is a potential dark cloud hanging over the entire sports broadcast world. Today it’s called fantasy sports betting. There has always been betting in sports…who wins, who loses..by how many points. Numerous sports talk shows offer what is known as the “line.” It ranges from small wagers among friends to a city based on gambling, Las Vegas, where betting is legal. It’s a town built on the endeavor. If you’ve been there you will find big rooms in casinos devoted exclusively to sports gambling.
The emergence of large-scale fantasy games has exploded in the last couple of years. There are now segments of sports talk shows devoted exclusively to the subject.
The purveyors of fantasy leagues also are spending enormous amounts of money in advertising their particular services. Their contention is that participation requires skill which keeps it on the right side of the law. However, when I recently checked, state laws prevent residents of Montana, Louisiana, Washington, Iowa, Nevada, and Arizona from playing daily fantasy games from a couple of its major purveyors. And there are certain states that banned just particular companies. And courtroom battles are popping up all over the country.
How it will end remains to be seen. But as long as it remains on the right side of the law, sports talk stations and, in fact, all the others can accept the advertising money.
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: email@example.com.