Advertisers pull back on NFL spending amid TV ratings decline

AD spending on regular season NFL games declined last year as the league continued to struggle with falling television ratings.

Marketers spent US$2.42bil on in-game NFL commercials in 2017, a 1.2% decline from the previous regular season, according to Standard Media Index, which tracked outlays at NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN.

Ad spending had increased the two previous seasons. It was the first drop since the company began following football spending in 2014.

Professional football is routinely the most-watched TV programming in the United States, making the sport a top draw for marketers seeking to reach large audiences.

But NFL ratings were down 9.7% this past season, averaging 14.9 million viewers per game. That was a sharper decline than the 8% drop the season before.

Automakers and consumer electronics companies, the two biggest spenders, retreated the most, with car commercials down 5.4% and electronics down 3%, the company said.

Insurance spending grew 30%, while alcoholic beverages were up 16% and fast-food grew by 6.4%.

The good news for audiences is that they didn’t have to watch more commercials. The ad load during games was flat. Prices edged up to US$505,000 for a 30-second spot, from US$499,000 a year ago.

Shrinking audiences meant the networks had to offer their sponsors more make goods – free advertising at others. — Bloomberg

Advertising & Media , NFL