Absolute Radio sets sights on regions

Absolute Radio will use its exclusive Premier League commentary rights to increase awareness of its radio brands and boost listenership outside its South East stronghold.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright

The radio station will broadcast 32 Premier League games next season on its Absolute Radio Extra service.

Many of the games featured will be involve teams outside London and the South East and the radio firm is hoping this will help it engage with regional listeners.

Clive Dickens, Absolute Radio’s chief operating officer, told Marketing Week that the station is hoping to connect with the 80% of people that live outside of London.

He adds: “By acquiring what is important to them and speaking to them on a regional basis we can target the brand locally”.

To this end, Absolute is working with regional media “to connect to communities in towns”.

Absolute broke BBC Five Live and Talk Sport’s grip on top-flight commentary after signing as three-year deal with the Premier League in February.

Dickens says that this new arrangement will lead to free media via “word of mouth” marketing as people discuss the changes to coverage.

“People will have to look at look at alternatives so there will be lots of pub conversations as to where they can hear coverage of their team’s games,” he says

The station has drafted in former Arsenal and England footballer and ex-Talk Sport presenter Ian Wright to front its coverage, described as “football entertainment”.

The station will be hoping that the commentaries provide an immediate boost to listenership.

Absolute saw its reach fall 17.5% year on year to 1.4m across all platforms nationally in the first quarter of 2010. However, its network of stations – Absolute Radio, Absolute 80s and Absolute Classic Rock – posted a dip of just 3% year on year and was 8.9% quarter on quarter.

Second quarter Rajar data is due on 5 August.

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