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Thread: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    This is the type of business move that is important for this club to succeed - particularly working to expand the wider market. One of the horrible legacies of the Marge Schott era was ceding some of Reds country just as the Indians were on the ascent. Back in the day, Cincinnati wasn't considered "small market" because we drew from a considerably wide market. I'm hoping this will help return us to that day.

    Pitches could pay off
    Team negotiating to take back ad sales from WLW

    BY DUSTIN DOW | DDOW@ENQUIRER.COM

    The Major League Baseball playoffs are here, and for the 12th straight season the Reds aren't participating. But behind the scenes, team officials are negotiating a plan they hope will help generate money to field a more competitive team.

    The Reds want to take over advertising sales of the Reds on Radio broadcasts from WLW-AM (700) and employ a team-controlled model of marketing that proved successful here in the "Big Red Machine" days of the mid-1970s.

    WLW has controlled ad sales since 1984, when Marge Schott took over the team and relinquished sales control in exchange for licensing fees.

    By assuming control of ad sales for Reds on Radio broadcasts, the team hopes to more effectively target fans from places such as Louisville, Lexington, Columbus and Indianapolis and bring them to Great American Ball Park.

    "With higher attendance comes increased payroll, and we need to draw from all areas of the Reds Radio Network - one of the strongest networks in all of baseball," said Bill Reinberger, Reds vice president of corporate sales and marketing.

    Reinberger said an announcement is expected soon.

    Chuck Fredrick, general manager at WLW, told The Enquirer he would not comment on the deal until it is signed, but stressed that no deal has yet been agreed to by both sides.

    Reds chief operating officer John Allen also declined to comment, citing the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

    Currently, WLW pays the Reds about $3.8 million a year in licensing fees to carry the games, according to advertising-buying consultant Rob Riggsbee of Inside Media. The station keeps the revenue generated by advertising during those games.

    In the radio rights renegotiations with WLW, the Reds sought more marketing opportunities. WLW, which has carried Reds games since 1969, balked at paying high licensing fees.

    Under the new contract, WLW no longer would pay the licensing fees. The station would be limited, however, to selling ads before and after the pre- and postgame shows and in a small capacity during the game. That would allow WLW to retain the lucrative "drive time" sales period prior to weeknight games when freeways are packed with radio listeners.

    The Reds would take over promoting the games and selling advertising spots for Reds on Radio broadcasts.

    Millions of dollars are at stake for the team. In 2006, WLW billed for approximately $5.3 million in ad sales, according to Riggsbee. After paying the Reds $3.8 million in licensing fees, WLW had a profit of $1.5 million in advertising sales, Riggsbee said.

    Riggsbee said those numbers should be similar for 2007.

    The Reds want to draw more fans outside of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and they say they have more interest than WLW in boosting attendance and bundling in-stadium advertising with radio spots.

    The team plans to work with local stations to conduct promotional days in the various cities, enabling the stations to do ticket "give-aways," or as Reinberger put it, "have a Reds day in Indianapolis that will help build ticket sales here."

    "In our core outer markets, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Huntington and Charleston, we can connect more actively with our fans through our local radio stations in their morning drive and daytime programming to help promote us and drive attendance throughout Reds country," he said.

    An average of 25,415 fans came to the 81 home games this season, the second-lowest per-game average since the stadium opened in 2003.

    According to the Reds' most recent available data, at the end of May 2007 nearly 1.3 million tickets had been purchased for the season. About 27.7 percent of those sales came from outside Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

    The Reds' paid attendance for 2007 was 2.06 million. Out-of-town sales typically increase during summer when school is out.

    Team payroll increased to $69 million this season, up from $60 million in 2006. It's not yet clear how soon the control of radio advertising and marketing will pay off in terms of creating new money to sign free-agent players or retain current ones.

    "The Reds are going about this the right way," said Roger Ruhl, who was the team's marketing director from 1971-83. "When we controlled radio ads, it helped us grow beyond the intense baseball fan to reach the casual and even non-fans."

    Assuming the deal is signed, the average fan listening to the radio broadcasts won't notice any changes.

    Games still will be carried on WLW and the 46 affiliate stations within the Reds radio network.

    The Reds briefly entertained moving their games to a different flagship station, Reinberger said, but the tradition of WLW proved too valuable to leave.

    Reds games are not certain to remain on WLW, however, until the contract is signed.

    Ratings for Reds on Radio are robust, despite the team's losing ways. Though the Reds have yet to finish with a winning record in either of Castellini's two seasons as owner, more people are listening.

    Spring 2007 ratings, the most recent available, show that WLW's weeknight listeners from 7-10 p.m., the normal game time, increased 5.3 percent from 2004. More than 18 percent of local adult listeners were tuned to Reds broadcasts last spring during that time slot, the most of any local radio station.

    The broadcasts have been outperforming even the "honeymoon period" of 2000 when the Reds acquired Ken Griffey Jr., according to Riggsbee.

    "Reds on Radio has accomplished a feat that most sports radio industry observers agreed would be highly unlikely that they would be able to accomplish because of their strong loss-of-games record through the first half of the season," Riggsbee said.

    "The theory is that the more games a team wins, the better ratings, but likewise, the more games a team loses the lower the ratings. Not so with the Reds on Radio broadcast."
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    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    I'd be happy if I could just get the games consistently on radio here in Bloomington. Some people are able to, but it really depends on where one lives. Anything would help- I can't stand living and hour and a quarter from Cincinnati and seeing more Cubs and Cards fans than I do Reds fans.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    No matter how this shakes out, we should give credit where credit is due. The guy who refused to comment for the story is likely the driving force behind it. Way to innovate, John Allen!
    /r/reds

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    No matter how this shakes out, we should give credit where credit is due. The guy who refused to comment for the story is likely the driving force behind it. Way to innovate, John Allen!
    My guess is its Phil Castellini and the influence of the Williams' brothers.

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    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    I've been waiting for them to expand their marketing beyond Hamilton County for years. Nice to seem them coming around.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    And if these negotiations fail, the Reds will eventually buy their own radio station and broadcast the games on that station...it is a no brainer because of the amount of inventory it opens up to them.

    It is in these two paragraphs that explain why it makes sense to take the Reds games to a smaller signal in Cincinnati.

    The team plans to work with local stations to conduct promotional days in the various cities, enabling the stations to do ticket "give-aways," or as Reinberger put it, "have a Reds day in Indianapolis that will help build ticket sales here."

    "In our core outer markets, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Huntington and Charleston, we can connect more actively with our fans through our local radio stations in their morning drive and daytime programming to help promote us and drive attendance throughout Reds country," he said.
    The flame thrower of WLW in this instance is a minus, not a plus.
    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    I'd be happy if I could just get the games consistently on radio here in Bloomington. Some people are able to, but it really depends on where one lives. Anything would help- I can't stand living and hour and a quarter from Cincinnati and seeing more Cubs and Cards fans than I do Reds fans.
    What side of town do you live on SunDeck? When I was in school, WLW was the best AM reception(including 1370) unless I was on the 45-46 bypass. Inexplicably it always went out there.
    When people say that I dont know what Im talking about when it comes to sports or writing, I think: Man, you should see me in the rest of my life.
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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    This would be a good thing, the Reds should be in charge of their product
    Go Gators!

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    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    This is particularly good news for those of us who live in outer-lying areas. There once was a time when all the towns in
    WV had the Reds on radio. Charleston, Huntington, Logan, Beckley, Bluefield, and yes, even my little town. Today there is only Charleston and Huntington with low-powered AM stations and no promotion. I think there are three of us left in my town who follow the Reds. Part of it has to do with MLB (and the Pittsburgh freaking Pirates) claiming this area as "home", cutting us out of TV broadcasts.

    Luckily, Directv's EI package fixed that for those of us with dishes and Suddenlink cable's unusually sane decision to carry all of the Reds FSO games on a dedicated channel separate from their FS normal outlet -- Fox Sports Pittsburgh. Adn then there's XM, but all three require a paid subscription.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed View Post
    This would be a good thing, the Reds should be in charge of their product

    Hopefully they can market it better. It's like the dog who chased cars and he finally caught one. Now what does he do with it?
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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    strong loss-of-games record
    I don't think I've ever heard it put quite that way.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Hopefully they can market it better. It's like the dog who chased cars and he finally caught one. Now what does he do with it?
    Could they do any worse then what 700 does? I doubt it.
    Go Gators!

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    Go Reds Go! UKFlounder's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed View Post
    Could they do any worse then what 700 does? I doubt it.
    I don't doubt it. Why would you think they could take the chicken (spit) product they produce and make it seem like chicken salad through marketing?

    Create a good product to market, then market it, but as long as they're selling 5th place, 90 loss teams, then marketing is their lesser problem.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by UKFlounder View Post
    I don't doubt it. Why would you think they could take the chicken (spit) product they produce and make it seem like chicken salad through marketing?

    Create a good product to market, then market it, but as long as they're selling 5th place, 90 loss teams, then marketing is their lesser problem.
    I think you're missing the forest for the trees. In the last 20 years, the Reds ceded a significant portion of their market. Anything they can do to regain it (including advancing additional, local radio stations) will help increase the quality of the product on the field.
    In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either. - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Negotiating to Take Back Advertising for Games on The Radio

    Once more the Reds play most of their games after dark.

    Low Powered Stations have atrocious low powered signal quality after dark.

    Whole sections of the state of Ohio would be cut off after dark. Basically anything north of Troy to south of Wapakoneta, east of Fort Wayne and West of Columbus would be without a quality radio signal.

    I will not buy XM, WLW is the only quality signal for those of us who live in the sticks. I know some of you don't like their right leaning politics, but cut them some slack they do a good job covering the Reds.
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.


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