How Local Businesses Can Leverage NCAA College Football and the NFL for Maximum ROI

Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell About The Author

Jun 30, 2021 11:24:00 AM


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Live television programming with mass-appeal events don't just draw crowds of fans — they draw advertisers, and there's good reason for that. For example, college football and NFL games bring in some of the largest audiences of households across the country. So not only can advertisers create ads for a well-researched viewership market, but they can make sure their ads get in front of thousands or millions of viewers depending on the channels they choose to air those ads on.  

Businesses can join in by placing well-crafted ads on local media to promote their companies or specific sales events. Let’s explore how marketing on NCAA college football and NFL game nights can boost your advertising ROI. 

Want to get involved in sports marketing? Let's talk!

NFL Football Attracts a Huge Crowd 

The ultimate event for the National Football League is the Super Bowl, which ranks at the number one program on national and local television year after year.  

Every year, tens of thousands of fans fill the stands, and millions more watch the game at home. That's a dedicated national audience of hundreds of thousands of households, all watching the game for hours. The mythos around Super Bowl ads has grown to such an extent that many people watch for the ads rather than the game.  

Let's look at the numbers. While 2021's game was restricted to far fewer numbers, 78.2 million A18+ were delivered through 2020's Super Bowl. That's approximately six times the viewership of the nation's highest-ranking network programming, 60 Minutes, which rings in at 13.1 million A18+.  It also outperforms the NFL playoffs and regular-season games.  So if you want a national audience, there's no better platform than a national channel airing the Super Bowl in 2022.  

The College Football Crowd Can Be Just as Valuable 

College football may bring in a smaller crowd, but it has many of the same advantages as NFL games. When you count the Big 10 and ACC Championships together, you're looking at over 15.7 million A18+ across the country. While that's across multiple games, that audience and opportunity for making impressions are still larger than 60 Minutes. 

Advertising during college football games may even be more advantageous for local businesses. Of course, the crowd of companies that want to advertise during the Super Bowl is willing to spend millions of dollars to get that national airtime. If you just need state-level interest and a bottom line that's more reasonable for your budget, college football games could be a perfect balance. 

Unique Advantages of Advertising During These Live Sports Events 

Sporting events are aired and discussed on national, regional, and local channels, which means your national, regional, and local markets each have unique platforms to view the events. In addition, local viewers are a powerful and stable demographic, as college football fans and die-hard NFL team supporters tend to watch their games throughout the season, not just the Super Bowl. This means you have an excellent opportunity to launch multiple ads over the scene and grow their familiarity with your brand. 

NFL and college football is particularly popular among general television viewers aged 25 - 54, and you can find these viewers across any sports channel. Take a closer look at the demographics of sports fans who watch games on traditional (linear) television broadcasting: 

  • Both male and female audiences watch these programs 
  • Audiences, especially college football, have a strong connection to their alma mater and their community. 

Another significant advantage of scheduling your ads to air during football games is that viewers are much less likely to skip over your ads. For other linear television programs, most viewers record the show and then watch it at their convenience. That means they can skip the commercials. 

However, sports fans don't wait to watch the game. They'll stay engaged in the program throughout the plays and the ads. Because they're "DVR-proof," you're much more likely to make an impression on your audience

How to Frame the Cost of These Ads 

College football and NFL ads come at a premium, but it's important to frame these costs in terms of return on investment, not just the price. After all, the ad spots cost much more during these games. The engagement, increase in audience size, and opportunity to increase sales are more than proportionally larger. Alternatively, frame your costs in terms of cost per viewer: how much more would it cost your company to get in front of thousands or millions of viewers through multiple ads instead of just the one? 

Partner With Meredith to Maximize Your Live Sports Advertising ROI 

Sports games are one of the most profitable advertising opportunities because of the scale of viewership they provide. They outperform the top linear television programs, as well as the most popular OTT and CTV programs. If you're worried about the price, focus on the volume and the opportunity to grow your brand. Gaining more local or national traction should be your primary motivation (even more than making sales), and dramatic ads are the perfect fit. Think about collaborating with a media partner for advertising support and consultations as you consider your next move. 

The Ultimate Playbook For Effective Sports Marketing

Topics: Sports Marketing