Los Angeles Rams fans are gearing up for a celebratory parade today (Feb. 16) after their team’s down-to-the-wire 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. The championship team’s flagship radio station may be doing an end-zone dance of its own, based on preliminary audience data provided to Inside Radio by Nielsen and Media Monitors.
Disney sports “ESPNLA 710” KSPN, the Rams’ English-language radio flagship, saw explosive audience growth with a 633% spike in its 6+ raw quarter hour count on game day to 110 unweighted quarter hours. The week over week gains came in both Persons 25-54 (+300%) and 35-64 (+333%).
“This preliminary overnight data reaffirms the power of local play-by-play sports and analysis in the home markets of the participating teams,” says Nielsen Audio VP of Audience Insights Jon Miller. “Looking at the data for the flagship stations alone, the in-game numbers were extraordinary when compared to the week prior.”
Audience built throughout the day for KSPN on Super Bowl Sunday, as raw quarter hours ramped from 27 in the 10a-3p daypart to hear pre-game programming to 40 in the 3p-7p daypart, which encompassed play-by-play coverage.
Keep in mind these are preliminary "raw" quarter-hour numbers which are unweighted. In L.A. they were based on approximately 1,300 individual panelists for Sunday Feb. 14.
KSPN experienced a 110% 6+ raw quarter hour increase over the day before (Feb. 12). And as Los Angelenos reveled in the victory on the day after the Rams’ Championship win, week-over-week listening to KSPN stayed close to gameday levels and was 38% higher than one week earlier.
In L.A., three stations air Rams play by play – two in English and one in Spanish. As the team’s flagship and one of the market’s sport stations, KSPN reaped a listening windfall that L.A.’s two Rams affiliates did not. Week-over-week listening actually went down 20% on Sunday for Audacy adult hits "93.1 Jack FM" KCBS-FM, the official FM partner of the Rams. And Lotus Communications Spanish sports “Tu Liga Radio” KWKW (1330 AM), the Rams’ official Spanish-language radio flagship, experienced a 63% week-over week decline in raw quarter hours on Super Bowl Sunday.
Massive Listening Surge For Cincinnati’s WEBN
The Bengals may have lost the Big Game, but their flagship radio station has reason to spike the ball in the end zone. WEBN (102.7) experienced a massive listening surge on Sunday – and in the days leading up to the gridiron contest.
On game day (Feb 13), the iHeartMedia heritage rocker saw its unweighted quarter hours more than double during the 6am-midnight daypart, to 171 from 78 on the prior Sunday, which was the “bye week” between the AFC/NFC Championships and the Super Bowl.
Preliminary data shows listening climbing throughout the day for WEBN, peaking in the 3p-7p (53 QHRS) and 7p-12 midnight dayparts (55 QHRS) for pre-game, play-by-play, and post-game coverage.
The audience migration to WEBN began on Wednesday (Feb. 9) as the station pumped up fans ahead of the game. Unweighted quarter hours more than tripled to 191 on Thursday, nearly doubled to 208 on Friday and held steady at 169 on Saturday, when compared to the same day the week before. The audience lifts were even more pronounced in adult demos. On the Thursday before the Super Bowl, WEBN’s raw quarter hours among 25–54-year-olds exploded by 416% over the prior week and jumped 126% with 35–64-year-olds.
The increases were even more stunning during Super Bowl gametime hours. “In Cincinnati the 7p-midnight daypart saw an eleven-hundred percent lift over the week prior while in Los Angeles the 3pm-7pm daypart saw a two-thousand percent lift,” Miller notes. “At the same time, the day prior (Saturday) also saw larger-than-average meter counts in the run-up to game day.”
WLW-AM, one of three iHeart stations that carries Bengals play-by play, had a larger game day audience than WEBN but the lift wasn’t as dramatic. Raw quarter hours for the talk station jumped 34% week-over-week to 414 on Sunday from 310 the week before. And like WEBN, the lift began on Thursday with a 42% increase to 547 QHRS, followed by a 48% bump on Friday to 521 QHRS and a 42% increase on Saturday to 352. As you’d expect, the most dramatic surge for WLW came in persons 35-64, which rose 59% on Super Bowl Sunday.
Sister sports station “ESPN 1530” WCKY also felt the impact, but the lower rated AM started from a smaller audience base. Still the Bengals doubled the station’s unweighted 6+ quarter hours to 51 on game day and more than quadrupled 25-54 QHRS to 39. As the only sports station in the trio, audience migrated to WCKY earlier in the day on Super Sunday than for WEBN and WLW.