Ad spots in sporting events: worth the cash?

Ad spots in sporting events: worth the cash?

From branded Champagne bottles on the podium to popular energy drinks plastered all over cars, all the way through to cereal, it’s been impossible for brands not to see the advantages of cashing in at a sporting event.

Nowadays, you can barely see the next goal, flying lap, or touchdown through the advertisements when watching live sports. But is the money spent on these advertising spots really worth it?

The big fight

When you look to sponsor larger sporting events such as the Monaco Grand Prix, Super Bowl, or Champions League final, you need to understand the audience.

These are international events that generate a lot of views and guarantee a wider audience seeing your advertisement, meaning whatever you’re promoting needs to work for this entire audience.

Superbowl Stadium

And with this larger audience comes the need for a large marketing budget. For a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, you’ll be looking at parting with around seven million U.S. dollars; an LED pitch-side screen during a Premier League fixture will cost around £15,000; and a Formula 1 single race sponsorship can start at around $500k and go all the way up to $70 million.

But what exactly does this money get you?  Research around the Super Bowl ads, shows:

  • Super Bowl advertisers see an increase in word of mouth (both online and offline) for about a month, with a 16% increase the month of the game.
  • The total word of mouth increases 22% the week after Super Bowl
  • The impact on solely online word-of-mouth is larger, but only lasts a few days, seeing around a 68% increase on the day of Super Bowl

And it’s not too dissimilar for other sports either, these events guarantee thousands of eyeballs and instant brand awareness. For established brands with a wide target audience such as Coca-Cola, Amazon, or Dunkin Donuts to name a few, it’s hard not to reap the rewards from these ad spots.

But what are the options for the smaller, more targeted brands in the game?

Make it work for you

If you truly know your audience, it’s easy to find more affordable advertising spots that can work for your brand.

Not every sporting event is a huge broadcast, and there might even be some opportunity right on your doorstep.

If you’re a local brand and you know your city loves rugby, for example, find a team that needs a sponsor, and this can be adapted to any sport close to your community.

It’s a great way of showing your city that you care for the talent within it, that you’re willing to invest, and, of course, you get some lovely brand awareness in return.

Most teams will offer sponsor packages too, so you can find one that suits your budget perfectly and lands your brand right where it needs to be.

Grace Road Cricket Ground

This brand awareness will work for your brand too, it will help you grow locally and research shows that audiences respond positively to sponsors of their local team, the fans understand that the role you’re playing is important and this only heightens with smaller teams.

If your brand can offer more to the team and fans such as travel or hospitality this will strengthen the relationship, sponsorships of these grassroot teams are incredibly loyal and can last for years, so incorporating them into your wider marketing plan long term isn’t a bad idea.

Think about your next move

So, before you decide to blow your entire marketing budget on the next Premier League fixture, pause for a moment. The only way to reap the awards of media buying at these kinds of events is to be strategic. 

Sports sponsorships are a complex world, there are different types, budgets, and options, which means you’re almost certain to find something that works for you.

But, out-of-home advertising and media buying is most effective when paired with a wider marketing plan and other digital marketing tactics, you’ll never win over the crowd with just a pitch banner.

Need some help maximising your marketing budget and reaching your customers effectively? Get in touch, we might be able to help.