Commentary

Walking Into The End Zone: The NFL Is Back

The new NFL season is about to begin. Will it retain its premium pricing status with advertisers?

It better. Some marketers are counting on what real-time NFL viewers can do for advertisers' engagement efforts. More specifically,  getting consumers to their websites and showrooms, then dipping into their wallets.

Live football is still sought after by major marketers -- despite medical concussion issues, NFL players kneeling or whether TV networks will air national anthem pre-game ceremonies.

So far, the NFL is taking on decent upfront advertising gains -- just like other entertainment programming for the upcoming 2018-2019 TV season. Upfront advertising deals for non-sports entertainment content on broadcast networks have seen high-single-digit/low-double-digit percentage gains in CPMs -- the cost per thousand viewers.

For this pre-season, national TV advertisers have spent $126.3 million on NFL games from mid-July through August, according to iSpot.tv. For the entire regular season a year ago, NFL amassed $3.7 billion in national TV advertising for all its networks, up over a year before.

This comes as the NFL TV ratings -- for the regular season -- were down around 9%. Not great -- but not bad, especially considering other TV content.

“Sunday Night Football” remains the top-rated show on TV, and “Thursday Night Football” is not far behind. The NFL is still way ahead of virtually all programming price-wise.

In October 2017, for example, across all five NFL TV networks, the average unit 30-second commercial rate rose 7% to $482,000 over the same month a year ago.

So don't worry about President Trump's hardcore NFL tweets, consumer protests on or off the field, or even TV networks' crazy high franchise fees.

It’s just TV. No more, no less.

Better still, ask yourself what TV networks will air next when it comes to live premium TV programming this year. I’m thinking more live sports.

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