3 Tips for Smarter Live Sports Advertising in 2021

04.27.2021 Kathryn Slaughter

In 2020, many people had more time than they expected to sit on their couch and binge countless hours of TV. And while we all hope the state of the world continues to improve this year, it looks like the quarantine-friendly content offered by cable programming is going to maintain steady viewership regardless of current events.

Let’s face it: there’s still plenty of “TBD” that lies ahead for sporting events. But there’s still plenty of reason for optimism. Despite the uncertainty of the future, sports remains unmatched in its ability to offer local business owners both broad and targeted reach.

We understand that, as local business owners, it’s imperative for you to reach your target audience now more than ever. Cox Media has your ticket to reach sports enthusiasts who will be tuning in to all the action. As sporting events continue its drawn-out return to normalcy, our knowledgeable sellers can help you build your brand through the advertising opportunities around live sports programming.

Sports enthusiasts are more ready than ever to watch. Now is the perfect time to align your business with the most thrilling, action-packed sports on TV. Here’s a look at three tips to build a smarter sports TV advertising strategy.

1. Target Audiences Through Alternative Video Channels

Cable TV remains the stronghold for live sports advertising. Popular cable networks like ESPN, ESPN2, NFL Network, Golf TV, and TNT are reliable options for businesses to build their brands through NFL advertising, golf advertising, NBA advertising, and advertising targeted to relevant sports viewers.

But digital viewing options are expanding live sports advertising options. Ad-supported services like Hulu and Sling TV offer live sports streaming that features ad breaks the same as any traditional or cable TV broadcast. Even social networks like Twitter have experimented with live sports streaming, while video-on-demand and other over-the-top (OTT) streaming services can deliver highlight packages and other supplemental content related to live sports events.

While cable TV advertising can help local businesses target specific ZIP codes and geographic regions, digital streaming can target ad delivery to users with demographics and viewing behaviors that correlate strongly to your target consumer. By accounting for both linear and digital live sports viewing, your business can build a multi-channel strategy that reaches valued prospects in multiple ways.

2. Embrace Second-Screen Advertising During Sports Broadcasts

Live sports is no longer a single-platform viewing experience. Many viewers watching live sporting events are also engaging with content across other digital channels. Twitter alone reports a 4.1 percent increase in unique visitors when live events, including live sports, are being broadcast on TV. Many sports leagues have created their own second-screen experiences to keep audiences engaged through supplemental content, with experiences that range from highlight reels to social aggregation to fantasy sports updates.

All of these second-screen experiences create advertising opportunities for your local business. In-feed social ads, pre-roll and mid-roll digital video, and display ads embedded into fantasy sports content are just a few examples of how second-screen ads can help you reach a live sports audience through other digital channels, and with different advertising goals in mind.

While your linear and digital TV ads might be focused on building brand awareness, for example, second-screen ad campaigns may be more effective at driving traffic to your website, or motivating click-to-call referrals for your business.

3. Build Shorter Campaigns Focused on Limited-Time Sports Events

If you’re relatively new to sports advertising, or if you just want to see some promising returns on your ad spending before you commit to sports advertising in full force, certain sporting events can offer short windows for targeted advertising that let you launch a strategy and then evaluate its results to optimize future campaigns.

While limited-time events like the March Madness basketball tournament and The Masters have passed, other televised events are slated for the near future. Golf advertising can be built around any of the PGA Tour’s majors championships, while smaller events like the College World Series can help you test out baseball advertising strategies on a smaller, more economical scale.

Later this summer, the Tokyo Olympics—which were rescheduled from their original 2020 dates—can offer a unique and expansive advertising opportunity across a number of different cable channels, as well as secondary content channels like social media or video on demand.

One interesting wrinkle of the Summer Olympics is that, given the time difference between Tokyo and the United States, a higher volume of Olympic competition will be viewed through video-on-demand and other non-live content channels. For businesses, this presents a somewhat rare opportunity to not only target specific events and content channels, but to even distinguish between live and non-live viewers when building this strategy.

With so many potential paths offered by sports TV advertising, it’s important to build your advertising strategy with the help of an experienced digital partner. Contact your Cox Media representative to advertise today—call 1-855-755-291 or contact us online to get started.

About the Author

Kathryn Slaughter

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