Sports Advertising: Beyond the Big Brands

09.01.2016 Cox Media

3 Ways Your Local Business Can Win with the Power of Sports



The Olympics may be the most recent sporting event capturing America’s imagination, but it’s far from the only one. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans describe themselves as sports fan1, and every day, these fanatics have a plethora of live sporting events to choose from on cable television. From major events like the World Cup to local Little League playoffs, cable sports programming offers something for everyone.

But today, Americans’ engagement with sports goes way beyond television. While they’re watching the game live on television, the majority of viewers use “second screens” — laptops, tablets and smartphones — to check sports stats, talk about the game on social media and more. Some 87% of people use more than one device at a time when watching sports, with smartphones accounting for 57%2.

Americans’ passion for sports, combined with the rise of the second screen, creates new opportunities for local businesses to reach out to sports fans on multiple marketing channels. No longer just for national brand names that can afford Super Bowl commercials, sports marketing is now within the reach of local businesses as well.


Here are 3 ways your business can get started with sports advertising:


1. Cable Television: A whopping 95% of television sports programming is watched live, making cable-television advertising during sporting events an ideal way to reach out to local customers3. With so many different sports to choose from, it’s easy to find a sporting event that attracts your exact target market — whether that’s millennial males or middle-aged moms. Timely promotions, like advertising your pizza delivery service right before and during a big sporting event, can be especially effective.


2. Online Advertising: Take advantage of the second screen by developing a digital advertising campaign that reaches sports fans while they’re checking stats, cheering their team on social media, or browsing their favorite sports sites for pre- or post-game information. Make sure to include a strong call to action to drive viewers to visit your website or give your business a call.


3. Mobile Marketing: Some 70 percent of sports fans bring mobile devices to the stadium and use them during the game4. Geo-fencing  and geo-conquesting technology can identify prospects in or near a sports stadium and deliver targeted ads relevant to the sporting event on their favorite websites or mobile apps. For example, a nearby sports bar could offer a discount to customers who bring in their ticket stub or share a code from the ad.


To really hit a home run with your sports marketing efforts, develop an integrated campaign that incorporates all three channels — television, online and mobile advertising. Your media specialist can help you develop a strategy to turn local sports fans into your business’s biggest fans.





1. SCORE 2016, “The Impact of Changing Sports Fan Behavior on Media, Advertising and Spending,” May 19, 2016

2. STATS,: “Keeping Fans Connected in Their Seats,” April 14, 2016  

3. Nielsen, “State of the Media: 2015 Year in Sports Media Report,” February 2016

4. Inc., “10 Top Sports Business Trends to Watch in 2016”

About the Author

Cox Media

Connect with a Marketing Expert

Connect With Your Local Marketing Expert

You know your business. We know advertising. Together, we can bring your business to more people. Contact a member of our team today. We’d love to help you grow.