Friday, August 29, 2008

Barrale's Plan to Get Baseball Games On Air

I never pretend to act like I know everything there is to know. I realize that while I feel old, I am still relatively young in this business. However, I have been working in broadcasting for nine years and in baseball for five years. So I also like to think I have a little knowledge of how things are done, and how they could be done.

One thing I am very passionate about is broadcasting baseball, more so, broadcasting baseball on radio. It is so much more pure on radio, because you have to really work hard to describe the action, paint that picture so the listeners know what you are seeing.

For that reason, that is why I think I never really chased the TV angle, because I love the radio side so much. I just don’t understand why some teams choose not to have radio. I have come up with a plan for how to sell radio that not only more than covers the cost to put games on the radio, but leaves plenty of money left over to pay the broadcaster a decent wage so the broadcaster is not living on bread and water while sleeping on a mattress thrown in the corner of a run down apartment next to a train track, not that I have ever done that….

Anyway, this is my idea. Call it the Barrale idea, or Nick’s radio idea or Plan B or whatever. Maybe there is a GM or President of a ball club out there that reads this and says, “you know, that makes since, lets do radio.” Or maybe there will be one out there that says, “That is the same plan we use now” or maybe there will be one out there that says, “that will never work and it’s a horrible idea.” Either way,
contact me and let me know your thoughts.

Here it is:

- Based on a radio broadcast having a 15 minute pre and post game show, there are 78 total spots available for sale.

- The Broadcaster sells all spots for the broadcast. Each 30 second spot is priced at $1,000 a piece. That equals $78,000 of potential add revenue. That is more than enough to not only pay the broadcaster, but the station for the air time.

- Depending on the market size, there should be more than enough “Mom and Pop” stores that are willing to spend $1,000 to be part of the local team broadcast. Divide that by the 140 game season, that is only $7.14 per spot. Not too many stations can sell a spot for that cheap and it provides an avenue for a business to be part of the team that otherwise would not.

- Also, for additional ad revenue not included in the above, in game sales. Those include live drop ins. For example, “Starting lineups brought to you buy..” “Our umpires for tonight..” “The folks at XYZ law firm remind you this game can not be rebroadcast…” “That stolen base brought to you buy..” “Pre-game show brought to you buy” “The pre-game interview brought to you buy” “Post game show brought to you buy” “Tonight’s play of the game sponsored buy” And so on and so on and so on. Those can all be sold separately.

- Keep stadium ad revenue and radio ad revenue separate. If the local dealership or big name business wants to be on radio along with a billboard advertisement, they still can. However it is important to keep both separate so you know for sure that radio can support itself. If that big name business wants to do radio as well, include it in the package buy adding the cost of radio, but always keep it separate.

- The broadcaster is in charge of arranging spots, spot traffic, spot rotation, spot production, broadcast production, liners, and ID’s. So many teams out there just play the same spots over and over again all year long. This would ensure that there is a mix of spots, keeps the breaks fresh and it provides a Major League style broadcast with spots constantly being rotated, updated and changed through the course of the season. It keeps the listener interested in the spots.

- Why not bring in the advertisers on the radio to sit down for a half inning to talk about their business? Sure, there will be businesses out there that just don’t feel comfortable doing this. However, there will be those that would love the chance to get on the radio during a half inning to hype up there business and talk baseball. Make them feel part of the broadcast, part of the team and important. Don’t just take their money and run. Be there for them.

- Who better to sell radio and the broadcast, than the radio broadcaster? This is the person that needs to be out there making these deals and the handshakes.

- There are other things that can be done as well that don’t directly make money but could lead to. For example, having promo’s that promotes upcoming games and giveaways during breaks. Just incase all 78 spot blocks are not sold, plug some promos in those spots so there is no repetitive spots. Keep the breaks consistent, 90 seconds between innings and 60 second pitching change.

So there you have it, a simple idea but one that involves a lot of work, but could produce a lot or reward. It also insures a job year round for the broadcaster and a consistant voice in the booth rather than a revolving door of one after another. Who knows, maybe one of those “Mom and Pop” stores will love the way they were treated so much that they will throw $15,000 into the ad pot next season for a billboard or season ticket package.

Also, having the games on the radio is a big time marketing tool because people can also tune into a game driving around town or at home and know what is going on with the team, which in turn, could increase ticket revenue, merchandise sales and ad revenue.

Again, it’s a simple idea, with the point of focusing on the “Mom and Pops.” Now it’s your turn, let me know what you think…..

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