Sports advertising is a marketing strategy to promote products and services offered by sports organizations, teams, and brands.
One Super Bowl night generates approximately $500 million in ad revenue.
Sports ads may come in many forms, including TV commercials, print marketing (magazines, newspapers, etc.), online sports ads, sponsorships, endorsements, product placements, and social media marketing.
What is it good for?
Sports advertising allows businesses to reach a large audience, generate brand awareness, and increase revenue.
Moreover, by using sports' broad attraction and emotional connection, businesses create compelling marketing campaigns that resonate with consumers and drive company growth.
How popular are ads in sports?
Sports commercials spending hit the bar of $77.7 billion in 2022, which signifies that brands are looking for the opportunity to automatically adjust bidding strategy, serve sports advertising campaign messages across the channels, and target people on different platforms and specific websites.
What are the benefits of sporting ads?
They increase brand awareness. Through advertising for sports, brands thrust themselves or their products into the eyes of the athlete and the viewer.
More than 78 million of those viewers currently tune in on digital devices, and that number will rise to over 130 million by 2026.
They increase brand loyalty. All brands' chief goal is to be seen as trustworthy and one that consumers want to interact with.
People who associate a brand with their favorite sports teams or players will be encouraged to purchase from them.
They are a vital part of future digital advertising. The digital evolution of live sports broadcasts goes beyond individual devices.
As viewers move to OTT and CTV for live sports events, companies will have new ways to personalize and target these consumers as part of their cross-channel marketing strategies.
But the real secret weapon for advertisers may be resting in your hands now: smartphones. Sports broadcasts present a unique cross-platform marketing opportunity.
Sport Advertising Examples
Sporting events are a fixture of American culture.
From Super Bowl Sunday every winter to a basketball game and the WNBA Finals every summer, live sports are a reliable way to bring millions of people together in front of their TVs, laptops, and other streaming devices to catch the action (and, of course, the commercials).
And even as the way fans consume their sports continues to evolve with the rest of the video realm, advertisers will look to live sports as a pillar of their omnichannel marketing strategies.
Live Sports Broadcasts Example
Super Bowl LVII 2023
The championship game of the National Football League (NFL) drew an average audience of 113 million across television (FOX and FOX Deportes) and digital (FOX and NFL properties).
The best sports advertisements play with viewers' emotions, highlight essential discussion topics, and unite global audiences.
The best sports commercials feature welcome appearances from respected athletes, their teams, actors, artists, and other public figures.
The Most Iconic Sports Commercials
The Showdown – McDonald's
Michael Jordan was on the move with McDonald's for its commercial. In the Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird commercial, the two athletes agree to play HORSE, in which the first one to miss the basket watches the other one eating Jordan's Big Macs.
The Showdown McDonald's Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan ad was re-produced for the 2010 season. They don't miss an opportunity, so take Michael Jordan's advice on making a Big Mac.
Nike Football – The Last Game
The Last Game advertisement was produced for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This iconic commercial is a fundamental ad for Nike Football in advertisements for sports.
The commercial advertisement shows football champions that can be animated by the artist (from Rooney to Neymar).
Adidas China – One in a Billion
Adidas' 2017 advertising campaign "One In A Billion" celebrates individuality.
The commercial that features David Beckham as a guest is intelligent and intuitive. It has a quirky uptempo piece.
It is an excellent example of sports equipment ads based on the target audience's belief that "if it makes a professional athlete's performance good, it can do the same for them".
The brand's equipment, particularly when connected to a top athlete, proves a product's performance.
NBA – It's A Whole New Game
The NBA partnered with Isa Rae for the commercial launch to promote its 2019 NBA Restart campaign.
The commercial advertisement was charming, and the heavy percussion-laden song playing throughout the ad made sense of excitement.
Under Armour – We Must Protect This House
Under Armour's first television advertisement, "We must protect this house", was produced on a meager budget.
This company had just begun its growth, and its campaign paved the way for its expansion today.
Nike Freestyle Commercial
There's an advantage to a good basketball player who breaks an ankle.
The players in the commercials possess incredible grips and have a knack for doing things that are not just an art. The commercial features a unique feel.
Moreover, this sports product advertisement encourages people to buy Nike sneakers and trust the brand.
Gatorade – Be Like Mike
Jordan was a young, spirited man for a commercial advertisement created by Gatorade in 1992.
The music that runs through the background of the minute-long advertisement is marked by percussion and tribal rhythms.
P&G – Thank You, Mom
The advertisement promoting the Rio 2016 Olympics aims to appeal to young kids and generations of athletes.
This powerful campaign recalls how we relate to our mothers, accompanied by music on an equally great, emotionally provoking track.
Coca-Cola – Hey Kid, Catch
Coca-Cola's 1981 commercial Hey Kid Catch shows that a soft drink can boost a child's spirit.
The catchy, upbeat tune featured in the advert sounds like the 70s and has the line 'coke makes my heart happy'.
Two Kids – Pepsi
It may be the most excellent commercial ever created.
Supermodel Cindy Crawford walks off the red Lamborghini at the gas station and immediately buys Pepsi.
Crawford and Pepsi recently re-made their commercials, this time using a Corvette.
The collaboration between Rihanna and Puma was a commercial success, helping to raise brand awareness and demonstrating the real power of celebrity partnerships in the sports, music, and fashion industries. It's one of the best examples of sporting goods advertisements.
The most iconic sports commercials to look back upon and remember fondly by a loyal fan base.
Best practices for sporting ads
Before starting with sports ads, follow these principles to run a successful campaign.
Gain sports sponsorship with influencers
Gaining sports sponsorship with influencers is an excellent way to reach an untapped target audience. It promotes trust and credibility and furthers brand awareness and sales.
Get social and build community with your target audience
Consider Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn Ads to promote your products with content that sports fans find useful. You can use influencers on these platforms to extend your sports businesses' reach.
Social media has become an essential tool for brands to distribute content, launch advertisements, attract new readers, and create more participation.
Modern sports fans enjoy interacting with their favorite team or athlete online.
Be innovative with your ad campaigns and avoid a click-bait
Digital advertising and social media might have made it easier to reach your target audiences.
It also caused advertising strategies to become more complicated, especially with digital content creation.
Nowadays, so-called marketers do everything to get sweet traction and traffic, including clickbait with banners and headlines.
Another thing that a commercial or ad campaign can do is showcase what made your new product or service different and better from the competitors.
Using the campaign to educate prospective customers on what you are doing better than your competitors will only help you capture more respective market share and generate more interest in your offering.
Think about what your competitors are doing and improve on it.
Concentrate on the sports fans and your consumers
Complex data and factual information are helpful but can also be dry.
When you create ads that connect with customers' emotions, use stories, share pictures, and even testimonials. Recent data says you'll see better and more sustained performance when you focus your ads on your customers.
Listen to what your audience says and gather enough data to determine the content they watch.
When people feel like an ad was made specifically with them in mind, they are more likely to check out the product or service.
Optimize your ads
Your ad efforts must be optimized every time.
Performance marketing helps companies to ensure their ad reaches the target audience.
They determine which platform their target audience spends the most time on and optimize the ad based on this information.
Sports advertising with programmatic
Programmatic is another universal tool for sports advertising.
Programmatic advertising accounts for at least 70% of global ad spending worldwide.
Brands and businesses can choose this method to automate sports marketing as this technology is based on AI and ML and can organize campaign flow on different platforms and channels without human intervention.
Whether at half-time of the Superbowl or full-time of the Bowls World Championships, programmatic makes communicating with the target audience more accessible and achievable than ever before.
Capitalizing on sporting events' excitement amongst spectators offers brands of all sizes and verticals a powerful opportunity to reach new audiences.
There is a vast number of creative formats and technologies. Consequently, we need more sports to restart.
Programmatic can offer many useful functionalities for sports advertising: scheduling ads, setting up campaigns for different channels (mobile web, in-app, desktop, audio, video, CTV), automatic campaign optimization, budget distribution, and more.
For this, advertisers need to create an account on DSP, fill in the campaign details, and start serving omnichannel and highly-relevant targeted ads.
Most demand-side platforms (DSPs) offer real-time triggers for sports events that automatically upweight spending. The platforms can also serve the ads at the time of the sporting event you want them to show. It can be pre, during, post-match, or at that exclusive half-time window.
To sum up, programmatic advertising platforms help advertisers to tailor ads during the best sports commercial and sporting events, showcase their brands, and offer their target audience engaging and relevant content at the perfect moment.
Sports advertising is booming like never before, as are the opportunities to diversify your request with immersive user experiences.
Advancements in technology make it increasingly easier to reach target audiences during sporting events.
Using programmatic advertising platforms like DSP, marketers can achieve the highest ROI from advertising.