Live sports programming is on fire when it comes to ad sales as the genre got a bump from the writer's strike while remaining one of few programming options relatively immune to ad-zapping. New
marketers were drawn to live sports with the lack of other fresh programming and may well stay in after realizing that viewers are less likely to use TiVo and other digital video recorders to watch
"In this world of technology it's not 100% TiVo-proof, but people want to see a sporting event as it happens," says Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports
marketing for Anheuser-Busch, which is upping the sports-related percentage of its total $500 million ad budget this year.
The brewing behemoth has locked in exclusive alcohol advertiser dealer through 2012 with high-profile sports events like the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500. And for broadcasters, that higher demand means they can charge more: Sports Business Journal estimates that sports ad spending rose 5% in 2007 to $13 billion. "Judging by the continued growth in rights fees for sports ... networks are apparently not worried about advertisers closing their wallets any time soon," notes David Broughton, research director for the trade magazine.