Hampton Roads Business Weekly Blog

Advertising During Live Sports: How Effective Are Commercials?

[fa icon="calendar"] April 14, 2015 at 8:30 AM / by Hampton Roads Marketing Now

advertising_during_live_sportsYou’ve seen the headlines, advertisers shelling out enormous sums for commercial spots during sporting events. $4.5 million for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl, $1 million for a minute during the NBA finals. You may wonder, is such a short ad really worth such a high cost?

The reality is that advertisers are willing to pay such high fees not just for the sheer number of viewers they can reach, but because the way that people watch sports makes them a much more engaged and receptive audience.

But here’s the thing… taking advantage of and reaping the benefits of live television sporting events doesn’t have to cost your entire marketing budget. There are many opportunities in your local market to tap into these highly anticipated TV events beyond just the Super Bowl.

In this article, let’s take a look at why advertising during live sports is in such demand and how it can be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Sports are “Appointment Television”

How many times have you heard someone say they haven’t watched a TV show because it’s recorded at home on their DVR and they just haven’t had the time? Now think about how many times you’ve also heard, something like “I can’t today because the game is on.” 

Sports fans are passionate about their teams, and they are willing to set aside time in their life to watch a game LIVE. Whereas people watch other forms of programming as a passive way to unwind, sports are watched similarly to how they’re played, energetically. Audiences are more engaged, and responsive to the things they see, and true sports fans can’t imagine watching a game days or even hours later. 

The Outcome Matters

Additionally, half the fun of watching a sporting event is to find out who wins, as it happens in real time, meaning most fans are unlikely to record a game because they want to see it all happen as it happens. Not to mention, the thought of even being minutes behind and seeing a social media post that gives away the game would be less than ideal.

Sports Are Often Watched in Groups

For many people, watching sports is as much of a social event as it is entertainment. Be it a Super Bowl party, or going down to the local bar to cheer on their favorite college basketball, football, or baseball game. The fact is, people gather in groups to watch sports. This makes for highly engaged audiences who are likely to enjoy a game together meaning the number of eyeballs are even greater than what is being recorded.

Sports Audiences Are Diverse

The stereotype that middle-aged men are the only people who watch sports is far from true. On average 35% of all sports are viewed by women. (Somewhat surprisingly, Nascar has the highest female viewership.) Sports also draw the increasingly hard to capture young male demographic, which makes up 45% of the NBA’s viewership. 

Different sporting events also present the opportunity to hit different demographics. That is to say, people who watch the X-Games have different tastes than those who watch golf, or auto racing. There’s a multitude of possibilities to reach your preferred audience with different types of sporting events.

Live TV Means Plenty of Live Viewers

Big sporting events, as well as other live programming like awards shows consistently draw large audiences. Let’s put that $4.5 million price tag in perspective. 114 million people tuned in to watch this year’s Super Bowl, making the per viewer cost of that 30 second ad about $0.04/person. At that price, it’s actually cheaper than advertising on cable, and for a more engaged audience to boot!

This is similarly true with sporting events that aren’t quite as big as the Super Bowl, but can still offer a very low cost per person when broken down.

Don't Forget the Other Two Screens!

People that are on the go and can’t sit down to watch the game in full still want to be in the loop about what’s happening, and will regularly check their phones and tablets for highlights and score updates. Getting exposure on the sites people check on the go is another great way to get your message across to an attentive audience.

But don’t assume that the ones watching TV are going to put down their phones either. Especially during live events, social media is abuzz with talk of highlights and blunders. This is yet another great way to engage with your audience. For a lesson on this take a look at how Oreo handled the blackout during Super Bowl XLVII.

Whatever your message may be, if you need to reach the kind of wide audience that television advertising can offer, there’s hardly better programming to place your ad than during a big game. Sporting events provide a diverse audience who not only watch the ads, but engage with them, and as we’ve all seen and done, discuss our favorites around the water cooler the day after the game.

The NBA Finals are right around the corner. Get your free marketing audit now and prepare your strategy for all of the action. 






Topics: Marketing Strategy

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