With 67% of U.S. consumers reporting watching live TV every day across any platform, live TV continues to drive high engagement for modern-day viewers. They love the sight, sound and motion of TV, and nowhere are audiences more engaged than when watching live sports.
In fact, live sports often take the lead when it comes to viewership numbers, with 75% of cord-stackers—those who subscribe to streaming services as well as traditional live TV—citing that they watch a live sports event at least weekly, according to a recent DirecTV report. Over half of U.S. adults ages 18-54 say it’s important to be able to watch sporting events live.
Advertisers have always had a clear understanding of the importance of engaging with fans during live sporting events and are willing to put massive amounts of money and creativity behind their strategies in order to stand out from the crowd. But with consumers now fragmented across screens and football rights dispersed across platforms—Amazon, ESPN, NFL Network, YouTube and others—brands face new challenges in connecting with consumers in effective ways.
MVP (Most Valuable Place to reach audiences)
In 2022, the NFL accounted for 88 of the 100 most-viewed TV broadcasts, according to eMarketer, so it’s no surprise that advertisers are eager to meet these dedicated sports fans on their own turf. When it comes to live sports, especially football, audiences love to watch in restaurants, bars or at home surrounded by family and friends—known as co-viewing. In fact, 66% of viewers ages 18 and up are said to watch in restaurants or bars, and 53% report watching at someone else’s home, according to Nielsen.
Sports have long been synonymous with building community and co-viewing is another great example of shared experiences and bringing people together. Savvy brands can tap into the excitement and passion of sports to build trust and loyalty within viewers’ communities as well.
Advertisers’ next big play
Many brands have long focused on reaching viewers as they’re watching an event live. By working with programmers directly, or with distributors who have access to professional and college games across networks, advertisers can run spots during pre- and post-show as well as in-game.
And with access to sophisticated data, brands can take their live sports solutions one step further. Data has consistently played a major role in advertising, helping marketers to better understand and reach their audiences. When it comes to live sports, data can be even more important in understanding where fans are, what their viewing preferences are, and the impact of media on sports viewers.
TV distributors such as DirecTV can provide marketers with the ability to get even closer to the content and the audiences across both linear and streaming platforms. Within digital environments, there is now the ability to leverage contextual signals such as network, series, genre and rating to target and reach audiences at a more granular level.
As we look ahead to the upcoming football season, this means marketers can more efficiently and seamlessly transact against these content data signals either directly or via programmatic channels, and gain greater transparency and scalability no matter how they choose to execute.
Another method marketers can tap into is utilizing TV providers’ direct-to-consumer relationships and robust viewership data to identify and reach football fanatics wherever they’re watching, even outside of the sports event itself. With audience-driven solutions, like addressable advertising, addressable TV marketers can effectively reach fans across linear and streaming platforms while also eliminating waste.
The key element is to find the right balance between reaching viewers in-game via contextual solutions and using audience-based solutions to find those same viewers elsewhere.
All eyes on the end zone
As we look ahead to fall 2023, we know consumers can’t wait to engage with their favorite teams. And with 47% of DirecTV’s streaming viewers spending half of their time watching sports, advertisers are also eager to reengage with excited viewers throughout the season. While the landscape has become more complex in terms of viewing options, the opportunity to connect with consumers during a point of passion has never been higher.
Now is the time for advertisers to leverage all of the new data and insights in their arsenal to get in the ever-expanding live TV advertising game.