TV Advertisers May Come And Go -- But If You're The NFL, You Have Few Worries

Sports fantasy league advertisers have dramatically dropped their TV budgets for NFL programming. At the same time, one movie advertiser, Sony’s “Concussion,” is taking shots at the league -- but also has the audacity to buy TV commercial time on NFL games!

But don’t cry for the NFL just yet.

DraftKings -- which spent $56.1 million on TV ads from Sept. 11 through Oct. 11 -- dropped to $19.8 million the next month, according to That number sank to $1.5 million Nov. 11 through Dec. 11.

DraftKings competitor FanDuel spent $69.9 million in national TV advertising from Sept. 11 to Oct. 11. This slipped to $55.1 million the next month, and to  8.6 million Nov. 11 to Dec. 11.

At the same time, the NFL has been hit with TV advertising it would rather not see next to games: Sony’s “Concussion,” which focuses on football-related brain injuries.  From Nov. 17 through Dec. 11,  Sony spent $11.9 million in national TV advertising for the film, with $3.3 million going to the NFL.

You take the good with the bad. But the NFL is still the strongest sports league, with the most leverage, according to many TV executives. In this position, the NFL can demand ever-higher program TV license fees from network executives.

CBS' current package for the eight NFL games on Thursday nights cost $300 million, according to reports -- up from the $275 million level the year before. (CBS shares those eight games in a simulcast with the NFL Network. That cable channel runs the other eight regular season games exclusively).

For the next contract, the NFL is looking to sell the entire 16-game Thursday night season for well over $600 million.

The NFL continues to believe that despite whatever problems it has -- medical issues for its athletes, or with TV advertisers who many are now calling illegal sports betting operations -- TV viewers will continue to come, and advertisers in existing and new categories will continue to buy.  

You can bet on that.

1 comment about "TV Advertisers May Come And Go -- But If You're The NFL, You Have Few Worries".
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  1. Todd Koerner from e-merge Media, December 14, 2015 at 4:29 p.m.

    This is why braodcasters from CBS to ESPN are getting nervous over leagues starting to take control of their games online. As more advertising moves from traditional media to streaming, they can reap the profits without partnering with media behemoths. Watch what happens with the European soccer teams. I think they may pave the way, although between and the NFL Thursday Night games on the NFL Channel, we are already seeing the erosion in the old ways of business.

    Watch DirecTV stock when their NFL package goes away!

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