TV Networks Hope NFL Ratings Will Bring New Ad Dollars in Fall

Variety | 2/12/2019 | Brian Steinberg
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The Super Bowl ended a little more than a week ago, but some TV networks are already making plans to sell NFL football ads for next fall.

“We are seeing a much earlier level of push and interest in getting things done,” says Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of advertising sales for NBC Sports Group, in an interview. Other networks that have football rights suggest they are also eager to sell. A spokeswoman for Disney Advertising Sales says ESPN is seeing “ increased demand” in categories such as fast food, technology, financial services, consumer packaged goods and insurance for both college football and “Monday Night Football.” CBS executives believe NFL games will see “renewed interest” next season, according to a person familiar with the matter. Fox Sports, which will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2020, declined to comment.

Optimism - Springs - Ratings - Football - Broadcasts

The optimism springs from better-than-expected ratings for football broadcasts this season. After dipping in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 TV seasons, ratings for games in the regular NFL season were up approximately 5% over the previous year. The overall NFL audience fell 10% in 2017 and 8% in 2016. according to Nielsen figures. This season’s ratings boost doesn’t come close to putting the games back on par with top viewership levels, but it does give the networks something to use in coming negotiations. The TV industry’s annual “upfront” sales market, when TV companies try to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory, usually starts in May.

Selling football is paramount for many of the nation’s big media companies. Comcast, CBS, Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox all hold rights to broadcast football and the cost of a 30-second ad in their games are among the highest-prices TV inventory all year. The average cost of a 30-second spot in this season’s “Sunday Night Football”came to $670,846, according...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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