Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game as Duke men’s basketball coach didn’t go as many would have predicted. North Carolina ruined the festivities by trouncing the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 94-81. Duke’s performance was so bad that Coach K felt the need to apologize to the fans, calling the effort “unacceptable.”
Though the result of that home game surely stings, it has no effect on Krzyzewski’s legacy as a college basketball icon. On Friday’s The Dan Patrick Show, Patrick noted the impact that Coach K has had on the sport and drew an intriguing parallel with another figure whose status is iconic in the sport, ESPN commentator Dick Vitale.
“Coach K started in 1980. His first win was against Stetson,” said Patrick. “But Dick Vitale started in 1979. And Dickie V would always talk about Duke, he loved the Dukies, everything about Duke. He was nicknamed ‘Dukie V’ at one point.
“But I thought about that, with Coach K ending his career and I don’t know if Dick Vitale will be able to call another game. I hope he’s just healthy enough to be able to watch basketball. He’s going through a lot now; he’s going through cancer treatment. But just the timing of this; we’re getting ready for March Madness. This is when Dickie V is at his best. It takes a lot out of him because he puts a lot into it.
“And I just thought about that, Coach K and Dickie V coming into college basketball really at the same time,” Patrick continued. “When college basketball was peaking, Dick Vitale was, then Duke. Duke became a brand, like Notre Dame and the Lakers and the Yankees, late-80s, early 90s. Then we started getting tired of hearing about Duke because ESPN put Duke on every single night. Dickie V loved Mike Krzyzewski.”
As Patrick points out, the careers of Krzyzewski and Vitale have run nearly the same length of time, along the same period. As Coach K nears retirement, Vitale nears what could be the end of his broadcasting career.
In Sunday’s Boston Globe, Chad Finn wrote about communicating with Vitale via text message because his doctors have told him he cannot speak for four weeks as he recovers from cancer treatment and vocal cord surgery. Imagine that: During March Madness, Dickie V — whom many consider the voice of college basketball — can’t speak. Amusingly, however, Finn confirms that Vitale texts just as he speaks, complete with some of his signature phrases.
At 82, perhaps Vitale won’t be able to continue broadcasting. The hope is that he can still watch college basketball for many more years to come. Maybe his path can continue running alongside Krzyzewski’s and the two can sit together and watch a game — maybe even a Duke-North Carolina clash — sometime in the near-future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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”
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.