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Monday, March 9, 2015

Key Strategies To Sell Sports Radio


At the Radio Ink Sports Radio Conference Thursday, four top sports sales pros gave attendees some of the secret sauce they use to sell in the markets they operate in. Moderator Jay Meyers, CEO, BMT/BCA, spoke with Joe Bell, SVP/market manager, CBS/Miami; Alec Drake, GSM, Sportsradio 1310AM /96.7FM The Ticket; and KLIF-FM Dallas-Ft. Worth; and Bob Visotcky, general sales manager, BCA Radio/San Diego.

The goal was to uncover how successful stations generate maximum local revenue from play-by-play, and how they sell local and play-by-play platforms. As the session went on, it became obvious that these folks are not selling radio, they are selling a brand, an experience, a content-delivery system. Social media, NTR, and events are key with advertisers. "We've got a very content-rich app -- clips, podcasts of what they missed, etc," said Drake. "We have 176,000 uniques on our stream -- that's a lot of audience."

He added that all Sports stations need to look at partnerships with advertisers and find ways to leverage those partnerships.

Bell's heritage Sports Talker, WQAM-AM/Miami, has been in a pitched battle of late with newer 100-kW FMs in the market. "We have to take things a step further," he said. One of the things WQAM does is host a "Holiday Lunch" with all advertisers that buy Joe Rose's show in morning drive. Bell said, "It levels the field against these FMs."

Bell also ties in a lot of play-by-play opportunities with the Miami Hurricanes: "We look at every opportunity to maximize revenue."

Visotcky noted that not every play-by-play opportunity is created equal. "We used to have the Cowboys on the Ticket," he said. "We chose back in 2009 to sign a new agreement with the Dallas Stars. We discovered in time that the Ticket brand was stronger than carrying the Cowboys play-by-play."

On selling the format, Bell said to keep in mind that Sports is a passion format. "What we try to do is get to the ultimate decision-makers. Agencies typically don't buy our format. You've got to get to the person who can mandate to the agency that we get on the buy." He said the mantra should be, "We're the home of affluent men with money to spend."

Probably the most impressive strategy brought up at the session was Visotcky's "spec bomb" -- creating a spec ad and playing it on an advertiser's voicemail at 9 p.m., so it's the first thing the advertiser will hear when they get into work the next day. "You'd be surprised how many people call me back in the morning," Visotcky said.

Meyers concluded the session by emphasizing that if you are in Sports radio, you are not "in radio ... you are in the content-delivery business."

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