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TV Sports Advertising Shifts Into Juggernaut Mode

By John Consoli

TV Sports Advertising Shifts Into Juggernaut Mode

Fall and winter TV sports telecasts have lured away a large chunk of marketers’ ad dollars that traditionally have gone into broadcast primetime entertainment programming, and both media buyers and network executives believe there will be no turning back.

Marketers have cumulatively spent as much as 20% to 25% more ad dollars on NFL, NBA and NHL live game telecasts during the current 2021-22 season than they did for 2020-21. And not all of the additional spending totals is due to ad price hikes.

Right now, most sports telecasts are sold out through their respective seasons, after an upfront selling period last summer where as much as 90% of all ad avails were sold in advance of this season.

Media buyers say as much as 50% more advertising was committed to in this year’s upfront than it was last year by ad clients due to concerns about being shut out if they waited until the respective seasons started this fall, winter and even spring 2022.

How incentivized are advertisers to buying TV sports ads?

Even ESPN’s telecast of Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby, which airs the night before the All-Star game in July — seven months from now — has only a couple of ad units left to sell, according to a network exec.

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