News UK radio station talkSPORT has secured Nissan and Now TV as the joint sponsors of its new-look Saturday football programming, which starts in four days and has been extended from two to three live matches.
Betfair is also on board as the sole gambling advertiser during the 11am to 7.30pm coverage and will benefit from commentators reading out live betting odds during matches.
A voluntary move by gambling groups to ban pre-watershed TV advertising during live sports, agreed in December 2018, came into force on 1 August. With brands now facing limited advertising options, commercial radio is one medium that could benefit from the new rule.
TalkSPORT’s last rights deal gave the station matches at 3pm and 5.30pm on Saturdays and one on Sundays, but the new deal changes that to 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm on Saturdays for the next three seasons.
Snatching the Saturday lunchtime matches from BBC Radio 5 Live was crucial, TalkSPORT head Lee Clayton told Campaign, because that slot attracts the biggest audience for sport on radio and will bring in listeners from the BBC that advertisers could not otherwise reach.
Second-quarter Rajar figures show TalkSPORT has been attracting just over 800,000 listeners on average on Saturday afternoons, according to Clayton.
The station has overhauled its programming and advertising line-up to badge Saturdays as "Game Day" and offer exclusive packages of limited airtime to advertisers between 11am and 7.30pm.
There will only be one ad per break between 3pm and 5pm on the main station, which will run a programme tracking developments across all matches, and all ads during that slot will be for Betfair. The live commentary on talkSPORT’s selected 3pm match will be on sister station talkSPORT 2.
Just Eat, which along with Now TV was a joint sponsor last year, has purchased one of the airtime packages, as have McDonald’s and building trade supplier Selco.
As sponsors, Nissan and Now TV will have an equal share of voice and will also benefit from talkSPORT’s ability to get teamsheets 15 minutes ahead of the embargo for publication.
"That time gives us the chance to create some content for us and our commercial partners to go out bang on the embargo," according to Dan Dawson, director of business development at Wireless, which includes talkSPORT and Virgin Radio.
The station’s distribution power is augmented by its 1.2 million Twitter followers and nearly 300,000 Instagram followers.