TV sports advertisers grapple with NFL, college football rescheduling games

Digiday 16 Oct 2020 04:01
October 16, 2020 by Tim Peterson

Ad buyers had hoped that the NFL and college football would help to make up for the lower than expected viewership for major sports in August and September. However, the rescheduling of games as players and high-profile coaches test positive for coronavirus is putting TV advertisers on edge and dampened demand for college football in particular.

“As it relates to just sheer buying of college football, it’s a slow marketplace, primarily because of the uncertainty and ambiguity,” said Larry Mann, head of media at sports marketing agency rEvolution. 

That uncertainty was amplified this week with multiple college football games set for this Saturday being postponed. On Oct. 12, the SEC postponed its first game after opening its season on Sept. 26. Then on Oct. 14, a high-profile match-up between Florida and LSU was postponed, and the head coach of Alabama Nick Saban announced he had tested posted for coronavirus. As of this writing, Alabama’s game against Georgia — the biggest game scheduled for Oct. 17 — was still set to take place, but the surge in coronavirus cases has unsettled an already shaky TV advertising market.

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