Some sports fans may bemoan the decision to hold the Super Bowl outdoors in the cold for the first time, but The Weather Channel spots an opportunity.
Dubbing Super Bowl XLVIII the "Weather Bowl," the cable network is pitching to marketers on-air, digital and on-the-ground initiatives surrounding the game. "This year there will be three teams playing in the Big Game: the AFC team, the NFC team and Mother Nature. ESPN and Fox will have great coverage of two teams, but this year The Weather Channel will be the media partner of Mother Nature's team," said Eric Hadley, senior VP-sales strategy and marketing, Weather Channel.
With more than 200 meteorologists tracking the weather up to and during the game, the channel is positioning itself as the go-to source for how weather will affect the Super Bowl experience. Coverage will include analysis of which teams and players are better equipped to play in varying conditions; what the weather will mean for the halftime show; how the weather will affect travel and sightseeing in New York; and weather conditions for ticket holders on the way home from MetLife Stadium.
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Weather Channel will have a presence throughout New York, hosting a kick-off party Jan. 29 featuring athletes and meteorologists.
The network is looking to sell several ad packages, such as a category-exclusive, one-week sponsorship from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2. The "Touchdown Partnership" includes a takeover of its digital and mobile platforms and video content promoted through Twitter Amplify. The company has signed on one brand so far, Michelin's Pylon wiper blades.
Aside from national coverage, the channel is pitching advertisers on targeting the local tri-state area on Super Bowl Sunday through its mobile and digital sites. The Weather Channel says it will use data to help advertisers reach custom segments such as football enthusiasts and sports buffs or consumers who buy sports apparel and sports subscriptions.
With the broadcast of the 2014 Super Bowl already sold out on Fox, and a 30-second spot selling for north of $4 million, the network is banking on marketers looking elsewhere to be part of the game. "With sold-out inventory at sky-high prices, marketers will be looking for alternative and complementary ways to connect to the fanatical and casual fans of the Weather Bowl," Mr. Hadley said.