Branding for Live Sport

When observing the revenues major sporting events of the world bring in, we see each year previous - seemingly insurmountable - records are being broken. Fox managed to command a price of $5-5.5 million for each 30 second slot during Super Bowl 51, a gradient up from $2.5 million since 2010. However major sporting events provide a golden opportunity for branding for live sport - without spending millions for an ad spot - if you know your audience.

 

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The Stats

Firstly, the most important stat is how many viewers are there for these sporting events. The UEFA Champions League final broadcasts out to 350 million people in 200 countries, the Super Bowl around 150 million in 180 countries however this is just taking into account a single screen set-up; a TV or laptop. For the sake of immediacy let's look at Super Bowl 51, which garnered 113.7 million viewers giving a 48.8 overnight rating and 72 of audience share in the US. Of all the TV's turned on in America, 3 in 4 were watching the Super Bowl. However as recently as last year's Super Bowl, 84% of people stated they would be tuning in on TV while 82% on mobile/cellphone to watch the big game, with 73% of everyone asked planning on using 2 or more devices for viewing. The spread on advertising spending in 2014, according to eMarketers, was $68.5 million spent on TV (59% of multi-screen promotion total) to the $13.1 million for smartphones (accounting for only 11% of total spending). Compare that to the usage, which Forbes states:
The scale of this opportunity is massive. A typical U.S. multiscreen user consumes 7 hours and 24 minutes of screen media per day during a 5 hour and 14 minute period. Of that time, 34 percent is spent on smartphones; 33 percent on TV (second only to the UK); 23 percent on laptops; and 10 percent on tablets.

(Multiscreening And Simultaneous Media Use: Unlocking The Golden Age Of Digital Advertising, 2014)

While it is reported that as of September 2016 advertisers are finally spending more on digital advertising than TV, at $72.09 against $71.29 billion, respectively. Of the digital spending, smartphone advertising will constitute $45.95 billion up 45% from 2015, and projected to represent 1/3 of all advertising spending in the US by 2019.

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The Play

So why all the numbers? Why is this important for promotion of your brand? Between the lines of these statistics is the fact that large advertising companies have been slow to react to the clockwork growth of smartphone marketing over the past 7 years. As smartphones have exponentially grown in capabilities; connecting people globally, organising work place diaries and even the ability to control your boiler at home, they too have grown inseperable from our daily lives. During Super Bowl 51, 20.8 TB was used of mobile data between Verizon and AT&T up 57% from last year. The top 5 uses of this data included uploading and watching videos, social media and uploading to the cloud and averaged out at 3,000 posts per minute to social media inside the stadium alone. The peak time of this was during the half time show where data usage spiked, however the most tweeted period of the 27.6 million total was during Tom Brady's overtime comeback. So to put these components into perspective we have:
  • 72% of the game watchers used two devices to flick between.
  • Mobile data spiked during notable events like the half-time show and the play of the game.
  • Social media usage spiked during notable events.

It would be a fair estimation of this data that during the viewing of a sporting event, whether at the stadium or at home, we value our smartphones as the fastest and most accessible means to share our elation with others when something amazing happens.

 

The Result

Regardless of what sport you're involved in, it's clear to see that the growing trend is during periods of extraordinary action that people are turning towards their phones and using social media. While it's plausible that placing an ad might increase traffic, it's a much more seductive idea that while branding for live sport a company can share in the high-octane emotional thrill ride that these major events can provide by directly connecting with consumers. It needn't even be a good match, with 72% (as an analogous figure) of viewers using 2 devices they will invariably move towards the more entertaining device, the smartphone. You need only look at the perfect timing of Budweiser's digital campaign during the Super Bowl.

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