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New Data Shows 20% Of Listening To NFL Games On Radio Occurs In-Home.

Think most everyone listening to NFL games on the radio is tuning in while away from their homes? A Nielsen analysis of the first week of the season reveals a surprising statistic: An average of the 30 radio broadcasts measured in PPM markets indicates that 20% of the audience is actually listening from the comfort of their homes.

The numbers are based on 6+ cume figures compiled for Inside Radio.

While 20% is the average, for some teams the ratio of in-home to out-of-home listening varies considerably. In week one, 32% of listening to Los Angeles Rams radio play-by-play was in-home. Other teams with higher-than-average amounts of in-home listening include the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars (30%), San Francisco 49-ers (29%), Philadelphia Eagles (27%), and the Tennessee Titans (25%).

Conversely, several teams have inordinately low amounts of in-home listening. Just 1% of tune-in for the Denver Broncos radio broadcast in week one was in-home, 2% for the Dallas Cowboys, 3% for the Houston Texans and 9% for the Washington Commanders.

Because most NFL gameday action occurs when listeners are not at home, games with earlier kickoff times have traditionally performed better. “A prevailing pattern suggests that games starting at 1pm on the East Coast tend to perform better in the ratings than those at 4pm, which, in turn, outperform games starting at 8pm,” says John Snyder, Senior VP/Sales Director at Nielsen. “The likelihood of listeners being outside their homes correlates with higher listening estimates.”

Yet the new data raises a few intriguing questions. Why would someone choose to listen to a game on the radio when they could watch it? A few theories are being tossed around.

Loyalty to local announcers: “Some listeners may have a strong attachment to their local announcers and find it unbearable to listen to other play-by-play teams,” Snyder says. Case in point: Merrill Reese has called Philadelphia Eagles games for nearly 45 years and recently signed a contract extension that will keep him calling games on Audacy sports WIP-FM (94.1) for at least the next three years. How many fans in “Iggles” country are synching their pay TV game telecast to the radio broadcast to get the best of both worlds?

Time constraints: Not everyone has the luxury of dedicating three hours to watch a game. Football fans with a long To-Do list might opt to catch the game on the radio while they tackle their Sunday chores.

In addition, Snyder suggests a new trend might be emerging. “People who have recently abandoned cable or satellite TV might find it challenging to access their local games without the necessary TV antenna,” he says. According to Samba TV’s State of Viewership report, a majority of Americans have cut their monthly cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services. “If they wish to avoid additional subscription fees from platforms like YouTube or Hulu, their options become limited,” Snyder notes.

Regardless of where they are tuning in, the audience for NFL play-by-play on radio is enormous. As Inside Radio recently reported, NFL games broadcast on the radio attract TV-like numbers with audiences so large that they outperform the top-rated stations in many markets.

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