Regional Sports Networks Gain Favor Among TV Marketers

Regional sports TV networks maintain their popularity with advertisers -- and viewers.

Heading into the new Major League Baseball season, Kannan Venkateshwar, media analyst of Barclays Research, says advertising sellout levels were at 80% prior to opening day. The cost per thousand viewers (CPM) was up 6% versus a year ago.

Across 29 regional sports networks -- such as Yes Network, Fox Sports and Comcast SportsNet -- Venkateshwar notes there have been six new advertisers with advertising deals worth more than $1 million. He adds that some clients are shifting budgets out of entertainment prime-time programming to sports -- in partly due to concerns over brand safety.

Because of this -- and the stability of viewership -- Venkateshwar says advertisers are making more national-oriented TV buys aggregating viewership/impressions across all 29 regional sports networks.

Regional sports networks aired some 4,000 total games a year ago. “Ratings have held up last season and were flat across the 29 RSNs,” he writes.

Venkateshwar adds that regional sports networks typically rank number in prime time in their individual local TV markets.

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