Post Type:post NFL Football on Cable Raises Passions of Fans and Local Advertisers Alike | Viamedia


While NFL football may not be our “official” national pastime, I’m not aware of any other American sport (save, perhaps, college football) that arouses such fan passion on such a large scale. And, if there’s any doubt about the “passion” part of the NFL, just check out some of the get-ups in the stands at any given stadium across the country.

Whoa!

That devoted fan base is certainly reflected in the cable ratings we see for NFL football games – some of the highest ratings for any sport on cable television—make that for ANY show on cable television. And based on Rentrak ratings for the past season, NFL Live game ratings (on ESPN & NFLN) are also growing – up 12.6% in 2013 versus 2012 (September – December). Every month was up (with the exception of October, which was down marginally):

Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report—Top 500) for ESPN & NFLN combined. Estimated HH ratings are based on a weight-average.

The interest in just about anything NFL-related runs quite high for Viamedia’s cable clients. Last season, over 1,000 local market clients invested in commercial time on NFL football games. That’s 24% more advertisers than the prior (2012) season (i.e., 1,078 vs, 870 advertisers). Even more impressive – they committed 31% more advertising dollars to NFL games. And, if ever there was a sure sign of our clients’ overall commitment to the NFL – it’s that 44% of 2012 NFL advertisers returned in 2013.

From a sheer volume perspective, the NFL ad growth has been nothing short of spectacular. Last season, Viamedia ran nearly 30,000 commercial spots – up 29% over the prior football season (i.e., 29,877 vs 23,191). And in terms of commercial time, our clients were on air over 14,000 minutes for the 2013 NFL season – up 28% over the prior year:

Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Sports & High Profile Tracker data for the period September through December (2012 & 2013).

 

Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Sports & High Profile Tracker data for the period September through December (2012 & 2013).

As is the case with college football, the NFL attracts the majority of its local cable advertising dollars from automobile manufacturers and dealerships – 53% over the past two seasons. Rounding out the Top 5 local ad categories: Retail (8%); Financial Services (6%); Restaurants (5%); and, Medical / Health Care (4%):

Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Sports & High Profile Tracker data for the period September through December (2012 & 2013).

Geographically, nearly 50 Viamedia markets (across 100 cable sales zones) ran local cable spots on NFL football with the Top 4 being NFL Markets: Chicago, New York, Tampa and Detroit. Collectively, these four markets accrued over 50% of all local cable ad dollars on NFL games over the past two seasons.

One geographic pattern that is quite distinct is the rise in the share of local market ad spending when that market’s football team is scheduled to air on a national cable telecast. For example, Kansas City’s overall share of local advertising stands at 2.5% (for the 2012 & 2013 NFL seasons combined). But if we isolate the three nationally televised Kansas City Chiefs’ games over the past two seasons, the Kansas City market’s share rose over 3-fold to  8.3%. Another example: Chicago – 16.7% share overall, but when da’ Bears played, 28.6%:

 

 Source: Viamedia internal analysis of Sports & High Profile Tracker data for the period September through December (2012 & 2013).

Taken together, these 11-Market local advertisers essentially doubled their share of spending when their hometown team was on national cable television. Their commitment to NFL football in general and their respective hometown teams in particular mirror a fan passion for pro football that has risen to new heights nationwide!

– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia