Advertisers Making More Visits to the Country

Sponsorship of Country Music Association Fest Grows 15%

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We've been writing a lot about country music lately, and it's not really because it's experiencing some sort of creative renaissance or that we've been eating too much Tim McGraw Fritos; marketers are suddenly very interested in partnering with Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.

If you still think that a. country fans are bumpkins without spending power, b. we're nuts, c. a lot of a and a little bit of b or d. all of the above, consider that the CMA Music Festival is having its best year ever. According to the Tennesseean, the fest, starting this Thursday in Nashville, has had a 15% upswing in sponsors, particularly big guns like Coca-Cola and People Magazine.

From The Tennessean:
Some analysts said corporations are starting to tap into country music, as country artists such as Faith Hill continue to command great concert ticket sales and as artists gain more national exposure, such as Trace Adkins' appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice.

"Once upon a time, the demographic or the earnings potential of the country fan might have been underestimated, (but) now that we've seen the growth spurts country has enjoyed in the past two decades those assumptions have been put aside," said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts and senior analyst for Billboard.

In addition, the success of up-and-coming country music stars such as Underwood and Taylor Swift also may appeal to marketers, Mayfield said.

"One of the assumptions for a while is that country skews older and the success that Taylor and Carrie have enjoyed is another one of those things that argue against the assumption about who the country fan is," Mayfield said.
There's a record 68 companies sponsoring the four-day event this year, where Faith Hill, Dwight Yoakam, Miranda Lambert and Kellie Pickler are set to perform in downtown Nashville. As with Austin's SXSW, who knows how many of these brands will actually get any positive vibes from fans, but, because the festival is so large (190,000 attendees last year) and those attendees spend so much money all over Nashville ($21 million last year ) some of the impressions/associations have to stick.

And they're fighting for a sizable pie. Sure, country CD sales may have fallen even further than the market average, but cross-over country artists like Carrie Underwood (featured in the recent Nintendo ad) and Tim McGraw have been some of the top-selling of any genre in recent years. And this year's Academy of Country Music awards show scored 26% higher than last year and raked in 11.7 million viewers, within 6 million of the Grammys, which covers everything from alternative rock to polka.

[Via The Tennessean:]