TV ad sales drop for NFL games

When TV ratings dipped last year, the networks and the league didn’t fret because the advertising revenue hadn’t been affected. It may now be time to fret.

According to Advertising Age, via SportsBusiness Daily, ad sales for NFL games in the wake of the May “upfronts” have been sluggish. Specifically, automobile companies and movie studios have been buying less space than usual.

None of this means that any of the networks are soiling their nether regions, yet.

“Look, we have done hundreds of millions in sales, so it’s not like we’re facing some kind of do-or-die scenario in September and October and November and December,” an unnamed network insider told Anthony Crupi of Advertising Age. “We expect there will be a robust scatter marketplace — we’ll certainly need it — but it doesn’t have to be gangbusters. So, no, we’re not panicking, but we understand that we’re going to be doing a little more hustling than maybe we’ve grown used to in the fall.”

Regardless of how it turns out, it’s worth watching. Networks justify the billions they pay for NFL games by pointing to the ad money that offsets those costs. Which could make it even more challenging for the league to get the money it will want in the next round of TV deals — unless sports wagering  is legalized and the states adopt it quickly, resulting in gaming companies dumping billions more into the advertising marketplace.

10 responses to “TV ad sales drop for NFL games

  1. I assume we’ll read this sort of headline every offseason from now until forever. The apex of interest in this league is behind us.

  2. In some places, football isn’t just a game. It’s all there is.

  3. The ratings that they did not deliver last year had to be made up with “makegoods”. This is free advertising in other programs to give advertisers the ratings they promised. This is ad space that could have gone to paying advertisers. One would think the networks would adjust the cost of up-front advertising packages. Advertisers are probably hesitating to see what the ratings early in the season will be before purchasing long term ad packages. Makegoods are good but is confined to that network whereas the advertiser may have wanted to use the money on programs on other networks.

  4. How many of us have the time, and interest, to watch 5 games per week at approx. 3 hrs per game? I got about 6 to 9 hours allotted for sports to keep domestic harmony. So I if watch a college game or 2 I don’t have even time for the NFL. Thursday night games featuring the dregs of the league are of no interest to me. Most Sunday day and night games provide enough to be worth the time. I cannot remember the last time I watched Monday Night Football – is that still on?

  5. The parable of the goose that laid they golden egg applies here.
    By the way, broadcasters buy time. Print media buys space.

  6. Cable TV has too many ads. They got greedy. That was one of the old selling points. Less commercials on cable. These corporations should know we don’t watch them.

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