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Live TV Sports: Audiences Engage With Ads

Live TV Sports: MLB Postseason Hits Ratings out of the Park

October 10th, 2016   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon   ||    No Comments

Live TV sports can be an advertiser’s dream, and postseason baseball is no exception. Game 7 of the World Series has the potential for ratings equivalent to the Holy Grail that is the NFL, according to AdvertisingAge. Nielson data shows that in 2015, Sunday Night Football averaged 22.5 million viewers, with a 13.0 household rating. Late-start Sunday games on Fox (kicking off around 4:20 p.m.) averaged 24.7 million viewers, with a 15.7 household rating. In comparison, Game 7 of the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants tallied 23.5 million viewers, with a 13.7 household rating, again according to AdvertisingAge.

Look Local

That’s not to say that games earlier in baseball’s postseason are small potatoes. The audience for our national pastime has become “hyperlocalized” due to the rise of regional sports networks, and it offers an opportunity for local ad targeting.

Size matters to some extent. In the 2015 National League Division Series, the three largest media markets in the United States—Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago—were represented when the Dodgers and the Mets squared off in one contest and the Cubbies took on the Pittsburgh Pirates (the 23rd media market) in another. The National League Championship followed with a match-up between the Mets and Cubs (who haven’t won a World Series in over 100 years).

Baseball, however, brings in viewers even when the market pairings are smaller. For example, in the 2014 American League Championship Series, the Kansas City Royals swept the Baltimore Orioles, but TBS still posted its highest ratings since 2010.

Engage Viewers

The opportunity to present messages to desired markets and reach a highly engaged audience is clear. In baseball, there are typically two minutes of advertisements per half inning. As long as there isn’t incessant repetition, viewers tend to stay tuned to ads, the AdAge piece noted.

Generally, live TV sports bring together like-minded groups of people. Upbeat fans are glued to the television. This mindset makes viewers more likely to connect with a brand, according to Hampton Roads Marketing Now, which also cites statistics showing sports viewers are upscale and educated. That means they have disposable income to potentially spend on advertised products and services.

Sports viewing is already a two-screen experience for many fans, meaning they may watch the event on their big screens but have a tablet or laptop close by for stats, player bios, etc., Kanan Venkateshwar, a Barclays analyst, said in Spots n Dots. There’s ample opportunity for TV and social media to collaborate in providing higher-tier experiences, and so it follows that there’s ample room for advertisers to cross-market. Related messages can be delivered to different platforms to take advantage of a tiered content strategy, and this becomes particularly efficient if programmatic technology is used.

As for the 2016 Fall Classic, seven of the ten teams that have clinched playoff berths are from top-ten media markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.). Advertisers are ready to play ball.

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