‘Significant under-delivery’: TV advertisers grapple with glut of live sports affecting viewership

Digiday 24 Sep 2020 04:01
September 24, 2020 by Tim Peterson

Eager as ad buyers were for major sports like the NBA and NFL to return to TV, many were anxious about how the volume of sports on TV going from famine to feast would affect viewership.

So far, the results have been a mixed bag.

Live sports on TV remains the best option for advertisers to reach a large number of people at the same time, but viewership has fallen short of advertisers’ expectations, according to agency executives.

Ratings for the NFL’s opening week Sunday slate of games fell 3% short of the 2019 mark. Ratings for the first three rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs dropped 28% compared with the prior season. Meanwhile, the NBA has seen viewership for day games suffer but prime-time matchups pick up.

“They probably haven’t lived up, in terms of ratings, to what clients were hoping for, but I think there’s just so much going on in the landscape,” said Cara Lewis, evp and managing director of video investment at Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi.

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NHLNBACara LewisDentsu Aegis NetworkNFL
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