Reaching Fans with Summer Sports Opportunities: Q3 Preview

07.03.2024 David Holmes4 min

As the summer heats up, so does live sports action! Read on for a few key summer sports advertising opportunities.

The second quarter was filled with thrilling moments and record-breaking stories.  Highlights include the March Madness men’s and women’s Final Four and Championships, the NBA Playoffs, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Notably, the women’s March Madness tournament shattered records, delivering the most-watched NCAA women’s Final Four in history with an average of 13.8 million viewers tuning in, a 114% increase year-over-year.

Women’s sports viewership continues to rise in 2024, led by basketball superstar Caitlin Clark.  The WNBA regular season, which tipped off in May, is averaging 1.3 million viewers per game, tripling last season’s average of 462,000.  The WNBA Playoffs will begin on September 22, with ESPN networks featuring coverage across all rounds, including the Finals.  

The biggest event of the summer, the Summer Games in Paris, will begin on July 26 and run through August 11.  Cox Media will feature over 1,400 hours of programming, including 24/7 coverage on USA Network, as well as additional coverage on E!, CNBC, and the Golf Channel.  The Games provide a phenomenal opportunity to reach a vast audience, making it a guaranteed success for any business or brand.  National viewership was up for both the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, and with the iconic and beautiful backdrop of Paris, we anticipate that this year’s Summer Games will attract new audiences and further boost viewership!   

The 2024 MLB regular season is in full swing.  ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball continues to attract audiences, with games averaging 1,583,000 viewers this season, up 5% from this point last year.  On Monday, July 15, the MLB Home Run Derby returns, airing exclusively on ESPN – featuring the league’s top hitters as they go head-to-head to see who will become this year’s winner.   

The 2024 NBA Summer League will return to Las Vegas from July 12 to 22, featuring this year’s top draft picks and prospects.  The event will have exclusive coverage across ESPN networks and NBA TV.  Each of the NBA’s 30 teams will play at least five games, with the top teams advancing to the playoffs to compete for the 2024 Championship.  In 2023, the NBA Summer League had its most-watched opening weekend ever on ESPN platforms, averaging 456,000 viewers across 12 games.  

August and September showcase some of this year’s most anticipated PGA Tour Golf events, beginning with the 152nd Open Championship live from Scotland, with coverage of all four rounds airing on Golf Channel.  Following this, Golf Channel continues comprehensive coverage of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, BMW Championship, and TOUR Championship, broadcasting each event across all four rounds.  Additionally, Golf Channel will cover the first three rounds of the 2024 Presidents Cup from September 26-28.        

August also marks the start of the Little League World Series, a constant favorite airing across the ESPN family of networks.  In 2023, an average of 1.08 million viewers tuned in for the 38 games throughout the series, making it the most-watched Little League World Series on ESPN platforms since 2015 – a 22% increase from 2022.   

Beginning in August, the NFL preseason kicks off with numerous games exclusively airing on NFL Network throughout the month.  ESPN will also offer coverage this year’s preseason opener, the ‘Hall of Fame’ game on Thursday, August 1, featuring the Houston Texans against the Chicago Bears.  The ‘Hall of Fame’ game is expected to mark the NFL debut of the league’s top draft pick, Caleb Williams, who was selected by the Chicago Bears.   

Moving into September, the NFL regular season officially begins.  The Monday Night Football opener on September 9 will showcase a matchup between Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets against the San Francisco 49ers, the Super Bowl LVIII runners-up and NFC champions.  Monday Night Football is coming off a record-setting 2023 season, with viewership up 33% year-over-year, making it the most-watched Monday Night Football season of the ESPN era.

Football action continues with the start of the College Football regular season, kicking off on Saturday, August 24.  Cox Media will offer an abundance of games being carried across networks like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1, SEC Network, CBS Sports, and NFL Network. 

Looking ahead this summer, sports fans and advertisers have lots to be excited about.  Additional sports include the Wimbledon and U.S. Open tennis tournaments, as well as motor sports like NASCAR and Formula 1. 

Cox Media delivers unmatched sports coverage and action, with over 80% of all live sports airing on cable.  Contact your local Cox Media Representative today to discover how you can engage with sports fans through these exciting summer sports advertising opportunities.

About the Author

David Holmes

David Holmes is a marketing professional with over 20 years of media experience, specializing in customer service, cultivating relationships, fostering team collaboration, and achieving results. He serves as a Marketing Strategist on the Cox Media Las Vegas team and has been with the organization for over 8 years. In this role, David proactively collaborates with his team and clients, strategically employing digital and traditional media solutions. He leverages partnerships and unique offerings, maximizes opportunities in sports programming, utilizes specific audience targeting, employs data-driven insights for effective storytelling and sales growth, and engages in continuous learning and collaboration to adapt to market trends and drive business success. Outside of work, David enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, traveling, visiting theme parks, riding roller coasters, and pursuing his passion for sports.

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