The Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants played home games at the same time yesterday. The A’s hosted the Detroit Tigers, while the Giants faced the Chicago Cubs. Sellout crowds on both sides of the bay.
I saw the following on my Twitter timeline, a completely harmless posting.
— 95.7 The GAME (@957thegame) May 26, 2014
Since I was at AT&T Park and at that particular moment it seemed like the game was slipping away from the Giants, 95.7’s decision to post this tweet seemed curious. Is this information really necessary? Isn’t the Bay Area’s American League squad in the process of hitting a zillion homers?
However, KGMZ “live-tweets” games and their own interviews all the time. 95.7’s Twitter account posted 17 updates about the Giants’ 8-4 loss to the Cubs, and 19 updates during the Athletics’ 10-0 blowout win over the Tigers. Then they showed a little restraint Monday evening, with only six updates during Game 4 of Heat/Pacers.
95.7’s habit of flooding timelines with in-game updates is nothing new, but that tweet about Wellington Castillo was the final straw that led me to pose the following question …
Why does the A’s flagship radio station live-tweet Giants games?
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) May 26, 2014
Soon after, I got replies from John Middlekauff (who hosts KGMZ’s 10-to-noon show with Guy Haberman) and Jason Barrett (KGMZ’s program director) defending the practice by saying they don’t discriminate against any Bay Area fans or teams. Damon Bruce chimed in with a similar thought about two hours later.
I received dozens of responses from A’s and Giants fans who thought my question was valid, as well as a few who thought I was being a little too hard on 95.7 (including one person who said I “never listen” to The Game, a stalker-ish claim that doesn’t happen to be true). My initial question also branched off into several discussions between sports fans (mostly ones who root for the A’s) and the aforementioned hosts and PD. Thankfully, I was left out of most of those conversations..
I stirred up a lot more than I meant to with that question, mostly because key Entercom employees got so defensive. There’s a lot going on with this, so after mostly staying above the fray on Twitter yesterday (although I did read pretty much every back-and-forth, as a lot of those discussions were spirited), I think it makes sense to explain my original point in a forum that isn’t limited to 140 characters.
This was about their social media strategy, not their on-air content
No media outlet can go All-A’s-All-The-Time and expect to succeed in this market. The Oaklanders are on CSN California for a reason. We’ve had several talented writers produce A’s content over the last few years, and the traffic just isn’t there compared to just about anything written about the Giants, 49ers and Warriors.
Promoting the team that’s aligned with your station makes some business sense, but that’s approaching chicken-or-egg territory. 95.7 talks about all the teams, and while that might irk some East Bay fans, it’s kind of like the Aldon Smith situation with the 49ers. The 49ers are in the business of winning games. Entercom created the Bay Area’s first FM sports talk station to earn ad revenue, not because they wanted to provide a service for A’s and Raiders fans.
Live-tweeting games isn’t really necessary
Unless you’re adding something in the form of a pertinent statistic, a little humor or something that can’t be learned from a quick glance at the boxscore, what’s the point of “live-tweeting” a game? This goes for all sports, but baseball especially. Anyone who’s on Twitter has access to MLB Gameday, which features all the information 95.7 provides plus much more.
The Game’s relationship with the A’s might end after this season
Everything I’ve read says the A’s contract with KGMZ started in 2011 and goes through the 2014 season. The Athletics are a little touchy when it comes to outlets that pay close attention to the Giants’ exploits (I know this from experience), so they can’t be too happy with 95.7’s obvious pursuit of Giants fans. And it’s very hard to believe the Athletics appreciate their flagship station frequently reminding their Twitter followers that the Giants are playing, especially while the A’s are in the process of routing the team that knocked them out of the playoffs two years in a row. Those were my main thoughts when I asked that question yesterday, but the whole thing can be summarized with a different query that spans fewer than 140 characters …
Can you imagine Larry Baer’s reaction if @KNBR posted an A’s update every half inning?
That’s not to say Baer is the moral compass all media entities should follow. But there are reasons why the Giants have been with KNBR for decades, and it’s a relationship that has benefitted both parties immensely. The A’s have bounced around both dials over that time; we’ll see how happy they are with their current arrangement based on where their games can be heard in 2015, I suppose.
KNBR completely ignoring the teams it doesn't broadcast is a LOT weirder than KGMZ live-tweeting Giants game. This is the only market I've been in where a "sports radio" station only covers the teams it has deals with and acts like the others don't exist, regardless of how they're doing.
You know what's funny about all this? The Game probably can't afford to lose the A's and remain in business.
Isn't This entertainment??? The ego's at The Game are ridiculous. I think the management and hosts think they are something more than talk show hosts. 95.7 The game management and hosts....Your 2nd class RADIO!!!! The minor leagues of sports entertainment in the Bay area scratching at the Big Boys at KNBR who have been around for decades.
Stop....Stop thinking your something special as you target a very small percentage of the BA population. You're not rock stars and NOT representative of a "new sound for sports".
Failure is an option and take what you can get. Promoting things like the BTH Breakfast outing is weak; so weak! Who is calculating the ROI for these events and why are they still employed?
Slow news day?
As much as it pains me to quote the great dinosaur, Radnich, I feel it's appropriate here:
I don't have a problem with the live Giants tweets.
I do have a problem with the chicken scratch FM signal of The Game in South Santa Clara County. Past... it falls off right at The Outlets.
As to why A's stories don't get as many clicks. @BAsportsguy
The type of content that is produced for the Giants is different than the type of content you have for the A's on this website. When it comes to baseball, this blog leans decidedly Giants and the content you have on both teams reflects that. Maybe not overtly, but enough to be noticeable. Part of that is the Oakland A's fault for not providing a press pass to your blog rep. The other part and it's no knock on you, but you aren't an A's fan. The A's aren't a team you are passionate about and at the end of the day, this is your blog.
I also think it is unfair to say that A's fans won't produce enough traffic, when the success of Athletics Nation became the catalyst for SB Nation/ Vox Media. Blez wouldn't have been successful without some serious fan traffic, which happened to be on an A's blog.
I came to your blog originally for posts on the KNBR/radio wars and for the content you produce on the Niners (I am a Niner fan). Both of which are insightful, interesting, and well written. I get my A's fix elsewhere.
If the 20 insecure AAA's fans who have an inferiority complex about all things Giants stopped acting like little babies this wouldn't be an issue. If 95.7 doesn't renew a contract with the A's their will be less talk about the A's on sports talk around the bay area. The A's tv ratings are in the bottom of the league and they don't move the needle which Damon Bruce once said while on 1050.
agree about live tweets of games. there just is no point to that. for basketball, its fine since you can do it at the end of the quarter or half. but it makes no sense to live tweet every half inning like this.
I don't see any problem here, they keep everyone posted on the games involving bay area teams. They do the same updates with the warriors and sharks and both bay area NFL teams. Just because they're the flagship station of the A's doesn't mean they should completely avoid the Giants like KNBR does to the A's. As an A's fan I like to be updated on how the Giants are doing w/o being overwhelmed with updates by following the KNBR twitter page or sfgiants.
This is interesting.
95.7 just wants eyeballs on their twitter feed, so I sympathize with what they did yesterday. BUT they are the A's flagship, which makes it a little more complicated.
When I saw your tweet yesterday, I thought "They're piling-on the Giants because they're losing and the A's are winning". But I didn't lose any sleep over it.
I don't listen to 95.7 because I'm hardcore KNBR, but 95.7's tweets are sometimes funny/entertaining so I like following them on twitter.
I don't have a problem with it. The Game seems like they are focused in with sports-news business. KNBR seems like they are focused in Giants/49ers/Warriors business (obviously the teams they broadcast) . not so much Sharks, A's, Raiders. It is kinda why I switched to the Game. to hear ALL bay area sports, not just one side of the bay.
If the A's are smart... They will move or get a new stadium and have a in-house fully owned A's broadcasting channel. A's talk all the time completely marketed to the franchise itself. KNBR is the second most listened to radio show in the SF market. 95.7 is something like 25/33 right behind the Hispanic music station. It's entertaining watching 95.7 promote their station and I find it humorous and worth following based on their promotions etc..
Additionally, I fully blame the terrible A's ownership group for not making the A's viable to the fans and media while they have been so successful during the Bean years. The A's have several stars, but the marketing campaign and dollars have been absolutely embarrassing compared to what the Giants have going on.
It's very clear that the a new ownership group has catapulted the Warriors to near the top of the NBA both in product and marketability, which led to TV ratings the past couple of years. Cmmon A's, hire some competent marketing people and give them a budget.
@coredump You complain about Twitter's existence pretty frequently. Sorry to break it to you, but it's not going away anytime soon.
@Sunset Boy People love to say "nobody cares" when they actually mean "I don't care."
If you want to question the decisions of a local media station, how about calling out CSN Bay Area for doing these awful post game wraps from the street outside the park, 10 feet in front of a bunch of idiot fans who've apparently never seen themselves on video before? I mean, really, its become a farce at this point. They need to take a hint from ESPN and put Papa, Estes and co. on a dais at least 10 feet above the crowd. Its painful to watch.
@Your Standard Sports Fan Athletics Nation was the first, but I've been told that McCovey Chronicles has 1/3 more traffic.
Lighten up, eh? It was a joke. It always loses something when you have to explain it ...
And, there's a difference between "complain about" and "have no use for".
If y'all are having fun with it, knock yourselves out. I have no personal vendetta against twitter (or facebook et al) or anyone who uses it. Had I known I'd cultivated a nefarious reputation as a diabolical twitter hater I'd have stuck with complaining about DBruce or Radnich or something. :-)
@Bay Area Sports Guy I don't disagree. I guess I just don't care. Or at least, I care enough to say I don't care on a sports blog.