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One-Third Of All Listening To Twins Wildcard Games Was To Station Stream.


Listening to online station streams continues to account for a larger share of time spent with broadcast radio. As of first quarter 2023, the portion of AM/FM radio time spent with station streams rose to 20%, according to Nielsen. It varies from format to format with sports seeing significantly higher rates. How high? During the Minnesota Twins Wildcard games, one third of all listening to the AL Central champion team’s local play-by-play was to its radio flagship station’s stream.


News/talk WCCO Minneapolis (880), the Twins flagship, has been streaming the games since the shortened 2020 season. That was also the year the Twins added an FM simulcast of all games on country sister “102.9 The Wolf” KMNB.


A Nielsen analysis of the Wildcard games against the Toronto Blue Jays Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 at 3:38 pm shows an average 33% of AQH persons 6+ from 3:30-6:30 pm came from the WCCO-AM stream. WCCO-AM’s broadcast signal captured the largest piece of the pie at 40% with the remaining 27% going to KMNB-FM’s broadcast signal.


While radio is often thought of as a go-to for sports play-by-play while fans are out of home – driving to a friend’s house to watch the game, making a beer and snacks run to the store – this listening data and that from the Wildcard match between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins suggests otherwise. According to Nielsen, 73% of listening to the WCCO-AM stream during the Twins Wildcard games took place at home. And 45% of all listening to the games across the three Twins radio sources took place in-home.


The eye-opening percentages of at-home listening to these games suggests the hometown radio call during playoff season may be more of a companion to the TV broadcast than a substitute.


Reactions on Twitter to Inside Radio’s Thursday story, In-Home Listening Propels Phillies Radio Broadcasts To A 40-Share, show it isn’t all that unusual for fans to turn down the TV sound on the national telecast in favor of the local radio call during postseason play.


“I’ve been doing this for playoffs and during the season when the TV has national announcers. TBS broadcasts are way behind so it can be challenging to do but it’s the best!!,” tweeted Michele Bade.


“I do it for every game. Pause the TV when the ball hits the glove on the first pitch & unpause when our broadcast catches up,” said Rob B.


Said Mark Van Sciver, “I watch on TV with the volume down and turn on the radio to listen to our guys.”


And John Gluten-Free Bacon Lover tweeted, “in-season, I almost always listen to the WIP feed on MLBTV. But in postseason I have to delay my youtube tv by about 20 seconds to get it to sync with the audio feed from the MLB app. It's a hassle but it's worth it bc local philly broadcasters are the best!”


The high volume of fans listening to the local call of playoff games is helping flagship stations amass huge audience shares. Game 1, in which the Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1, attracted a 21.7 share of Men-25-54 during the 3:30-6:30pm time period, per Nielsen. Game 2, where the Twins prevailed 2-0, delivered an even higher share of 33.2.



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