Cable Advertising Tactics for the 2024 NFL Season

06.04.2024 Sara Brasfield5 min

The NFL has long been the TV ratings juggernaut of American sports. In 2023, the average regular-season game averaged 17.9 million viewers, a 7 percent increase over the prior year. With that, NFL advertising opportunities are plentiful for local businesses of any size.

In 2024, the NFL is looking to build on that popularity in more ways than one. Along with its traditional broadcast lineup across network and cable TV channels, the league is featuring games on a wider range of cable TV and streaming channels, and across more days of the week.

This diversified approach is creating new opportunities for businesses to invest in NFL advertising that fits their audience targeting strategy and their spending budget. As you plan your media buys for the second half of the calendar year, here are some important football advertising ideas and opportunities to keep in mind.

Invest in NFL Inventories Outside of Traditional Kickoff Times

NFL games are a fixture of Sunday TV programming, and both Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football have also turned into popular sports programs during the week. But after the league’s announcement of its 2024 regular-season schedule, one notable change for this upcoming season is the effort the league is making to expand its presence across the TV calendar.

This includes setting kickoff times at different times of the day, and even extending the presence of its games onto days not typically known for featuring NFL broadcasts. The league’s International Series, for example, has historically used games played in London and Europe to add an additional NFL broadcast during early Sunday morning, with kickoffs occurring around 9:30 EST.

This year, the NFL Network will feature four Sunday morning games featuring teams such as the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Minnesota Vikings. The NFL will also play a rare Friday game during its regular-season, and two Christmas Day games will air exclusively on Netflix.

These new time slots could be an exciting advertising opportunity for proactive businesses. If your business is targeting specific markets where local teams are playing overseas, move in early to snag this valuable NFL Network advertising inventory before it disappears.

Plan Media Buys Around the NFL’s Growing ‘Altcast’ Experiences

Sports fans have shown a rabid appetite for alternative broadcast experiences in recent years, and the NFL has been aggressive in testing out these ‘altcast’ formats in search of a winning recipe. The most famous of these altcasts is ESPN2’s “Manningcast,” which features brothers Peyton and Eli Manning commentating on the Monday Night Football game while bringing in celebrity guests for interviews.

Similar altcasts have found success targeting other audience segments, such as Nickelodeon’s augmented-reality kid-cast featuring SpongeBob SquarePants—and the NFL is eager to try out new formats to see what audiences respond to. Altcasts like the Manningcast are a great way to invest in a Monday Night Football ad that comes at a lower cost than ads for the main broadcast—especially for businesses that want to target cable TV ads to a more tailored audience.

Consider Monday Night Football Ad Slots as a Possible Value Play

The diversification of altcasts and the overall TV landscape has created an excess of NFL ad space that businesses should be eager to seize upon. Monday Night Football has been particularly hard-hit by these changes to the ad landscape: even as TV ratings have increased, a surplus of Monday Night Football ad inventory is creating a buyer-friendly market for NFL advertisers.

Even if you’ve previously written off Monday Night Football and other NFL ad space as too expensive in the past, you might want to revisit this market and seek out cost-effective options aligned with your advertising goals.

Target Second-Screen Engagement Through Alternative Digital Channels

Omnichannel sports marketing can offer excellent cost-efficiencies and ROI when timed around the broadcast of major sporting events, including NFL games. Along with cable TV media buys, any business interested in advertising around the NFL should explore the ways in which second-screen campaigns can engage fans already tuned into the game.

Football marketing campaigns can use digital video, social media, display and other forms of advertising to connect with consumers going online while watching a football game. Second-screen interactions can replace or complement a football advertisement on TV to increase your brand’s visibility among your local NFL fans. A digital advertising partner can help you develop these campaigns in coordination with the NFL schedule and your cable TV ads.

As your options for investing in NFL ads increase, the media buying process can grow more complex. Cox Media’s experts can help you identify the best-fit opportunities that serve your brand’s advertising goals and maximize the ROI potential of your NFL advertising campaigns.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

View All of Sara Brasfield's Blog Posts

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