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Chael Sonnen Joins ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Chael Sonnen has found a new home for his broadcasting and analyst work.

The retired UFC fighter and former title challenger, who was fired from his job with FOX Sports earlier this year, has signed on with ESPN as an MMA analyst. ESPN officials today announced the signing following an initial report from the AP.

According to ESPN, Sonnen has signed a “multi-fight agreement as a studio and on-site analyst, providing expert pre- and post-fight insight on ‘SportsCenter’’s coverage of major UFC pay-per-view events.” He debuts Friday on the eve of UFC 180 and will appear throughout the weekend on “SportsCenter” and various ESPN platforms, according to the announcement.

“The industry leader in sports…and ESPN have finally joined forces,” Sonnen stated in the announcement. “You’re welcome, wait! These mics hot? The biggest thing to happen to ESPN since…well nothing really comes close. In all seriousness, to ESPN, to Disney, to the Hearst Corporation and to all the viewers…you’re welcome. From one industry leader to another, I look forward to the opportunity of bringing my stories, insight and unique perspective of mixed martial arts to the network.”

Sonnen (28-14-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) was fired from his FOX Sports/”UFC Tonight” co-hosting gig and subsequently announced his retirement following a pair of failed UFC 175 drug tests earlier this year.

At a July hearing with Nevada State Athletic Commission, Sonnen (28-14-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) received a two-year suspension for the failed tests. Sonnen admitted his guilt and said he agreed with the commission’s punishment, which also included paying the cost and analysis of the drug tests that ensnared him, agreeing not to fight in any other jurisdiction for his two-year term, and acting as an educator to both the commission and fellow fighters on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs.

Sonnen was flagged for a total of five PEDs prior to a scheduled fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 175 on July 5: anastrozole, clomifene, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin. The first failed test prompted the UFC to pull him from the fight, after which he publicly retired from the sport. The second positive test, which revealed the presence of noted PEDs HGH and EPO, triggered the termination of his relationship with the UFC and FOX, where he served as a host of FOX Sports 1’s weekly “UFC Tonight” news program.

On his recently launched podcast, “You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen,” the 37-year-old fighter said he didn’t regret his PED use.

“I’m not going to apologize because I’m not sorry,” said Sonnen, who had previously criticized PED users. “I’m a consenting adult; I knew exactly what I was doing. This was a premeditated decision. If I go jump in my car and I back up and I hit my neighbor’s garbage cans, I’m sorry for that. This was a calculated decision. I made the decision, and I’ll live with it. That’s it. I wouldn’t make any excuses about it.”

Credit to MMA Junkie who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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