If you have a radio, you know that many music stations have “flipped” to Christmas music. Instead of their (typically) adult contemporary playlists, you hear playlists of classic and contemporary Christmas songs. Why? Huge ratings!
A recent study by Nielsen, which measures radio ratings, shows the popularity of Christmas music spans generations and geography. Nearly 500 stations across the country turn all-Christmas during the holidays, according to Nielsen. A station that “owns” the Christmas format in its city typically sees a 72% spike in ratings.
So what does this have to do with sports radio? If someone is doing something that gets a 72% ratings spike you have to pay attention. Certainly a sports station can’t flip to Christmas music at all, let alone during the NFL and College football seasons. Here’s an idea, program your station to have a “Sports Holiday Season.” The sports calendar plays right into this and Christmas and the holidays tie it all together.
Here’s a look at the “Sports Holidays” that happen between Thanksgiving and January 2nd:
- Saturday Nov. 24—Rivalry Games in College Football: Michigan-Ohio State, Alabama-Auburn, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State
- November 26-28: The ACC-Big Ten Challenge: 14 games over three days highlighted by #11 Michigan State at Louisville, Indiana at #1 Duke, #23 Purdue at #14 Florida State and #7 North Carolina at #18 Michigan.
- Saturday December 8: The Heisman Trophy Ceremony live from New York
- December 9-13: Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas
- December 15-January 7: College Football Bowls and the College Football Playoff
- December 25: NBA on Christmas Day- Five games highlighted by Lakers at Golden State
- December 30: The final day of the NFL regular season
- January 1, 2019: The NHL Winter Classic-Boston Bruins v. Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium
In your market some of these events are bigger than others to your listeners. You may have the rights to some of these while others you don’t. The important thing to do is to group the events that make sense to your audience and make a “holiday” package out of them. Get a press release out about Holiday programming on your station. Create a series of promos with a holiday sound that talk about your station’s coverage or live play by play of the big events. Use the same sound for the imaging of these events, shows, and play by play.
Present the “Holiday Programming” sponsorship ideas to your sales staff (yes, long before now!) It’s a great way to have your station in the holiday spirit, with a holiday sound, involving some really loose connections to each other.
Sports radio may not have Christmas Music, but it does have a ton of great sporting events in the NFL, College Football, NBA, NHL, and MLB. It’s time to capitalize on all of these sporting events and highlight your station’s coverage in a big way to finish off the year strong and connect your station to the holiday spirit.