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With Greater Audience Engagement, Research Gives Radio's Post-Season NFL Coverage The Edge Over TV.


There's a higher level of passion and engagement among listeners of post-season NFL games compared to TV viewers, resulting in greater advertising effectiveness and impact, according to the results of several research studies analyzed by Westwood One's weekly blog.


“As we see with NFL in general, as well as other sports, there is a greater tendency for those tuning into the AM/FM radio coverage of the postseason to be more enthusiastic hardcore fans than is seen for TV,” Westwood One VP of Research Scott Anekstein says. “Radio consistently outpaces TV in attracting adults with higher levels of interest in sports, who go to games, keep up with sports on their devices, as well as guide and influence others when it comes to sports.”


The findings from a MESH Experience study of more than 750 sports fans shows 82% of AM/FM listeners of NFL coverage overall say they are “extremely/very passionate” about the NFL compared to 67% of TV viewers. In fact, whether football, basketball, baseball, hockey or golf, the same is true for AM/FM listeners vs. TV viewers.


MRI Simmons data shows that listeners to NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl are significantly more likely than TV viewers to have attended any sports events, to use a sports app in the last 30 days, to have family/friends ask/trust their advice on sports, to be considered a sports category influential consumer, to have participated in a fantasy sports league, and to have purchased licensed NFL clothing. “Across all of these measures of fandom and engagement, there is an advantage for radio, including those tuning into the radio coverage also being more likely to have official NFL clothing,” Anekstein says, “so radio having this more involved, lean-forward audience creates an environment for ads to have greater resonance [and] greater impact.”


Additional research shows that NFL post-season AM/FM listeners are far more likely to agree that advertising on the medium gives them useful information about new products and services and about bargains. “We see a great increase in radio ad engagement when zeroing in on the postseason audience, alongside a comparatively small spike in TV ad engagement for postseason viewers, which is no surprise since the radio listeners are already so engaged with the content,” Anekstein says.


Radio's advantages during the NFL post-season don't stop there, as MRI Simmons' findings also show that listeners are more likely than TV viewers to influence other consumers, extending commercial impact beyond the game. Those catching NFL postseason games on AM/FM radio are more likely to be influential for the automotive, home electronics, mobile phone, home improvement and computer categories, among many others. At the same time, these listeners show greater likelihood of buying a new or used vehicle, smartphone, computer or life insurance, or to go on a cruise, start a new business or change jobs, vs. post-season TV viewers.


Along with the above, Nielsen Scarborough research shows that the NFL postseason AM/FM radio audience has a younger median age (46, vs. TV's 53), and is more likely to be employed, have a bigger household, and a higher median household income, vs. NFL post-season TV viewers.


The blog also notes that NFL coverage on Westwood One brings in an additional 10 million AM/FM listeners during the post-season, after the 46 million reached during the regular season, with reach during the post-season as high as 55% above the average weekly reach during the regular season.


“Advertisers in post-season coverage will have the advantage of targeting and messaging to consumers who are more engaged with sports, more engaged with ads, with more money to spend and plans to spend it, who are more influential to others, and with more of them to tap into,” Anekstein says. “Including radio in the mix will certainly provide advertisers with a bigger bang for their buck.”

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