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ESPN Considering Enhanced Advertising Ideas

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Brian Steinberg of Variety explored what various networks will be doing this fall to combat viewers using DVRs to fast forward through traditional commercials. His article, titled “The Death of the Commercial Break: Why Marketers Need to Get More Creative Than Ever”, features an interesting tidbit about ESPN’s plans.

ESPN has an offer that is akin to real-time product placement. Producers at the sports-media outlet have their hands on constantly changing brews of statistics about players and teams, notes Ed Erhardt, ESPN’s president of global sales and marketing, “and we can literally tweak those in real time as we find out what’s going on and use them with ad messages from someone who is buying a college football game.”

Steinberg notes that traditional product placement usually requires weeks of planning and previous knowledge of plot lines and blocking. ESPN doesn’t have the same luxury for live sports, so targeting ads featuring prominent athletes for some kind of enhanced content makes sense. The inability to know the outcome ahead of time also makes ad placement on in-game graphics the most valuable “product placement” ESPN can offer.

Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing has another unique idea that could benefit ESPN.

A lot of the ads during sports events involve athletes, which makes some sense. The whole idea of athlete endorsements is that they’re perceived to have value in promoting a brand to fans, and showcasing that connection during a game is logical. But it’s not necessarily great when those ads come on when the particular athlete (or to a lesser extent, their team) is struggling; if, say, an Aaron Rodgers State Farm ad comes on in a game where he’s thrown several interceptions, that’s presumably not as effective an endorsement, and it’s certainly going to lead to a lot of jokes. If a brand takes a stance that all conversation about an ad is good conversation, maybe that’s okay, but for obvious reasons, brands want to be associated with successful athletes. So what if this kind of “tweak in real time” was about choosing which commercial to show based on how the game’s going? (And if it’s too expensive to shoot multiple commercials with athletes, maybe have a generic one without an athlete that can be subbed in if your athlete spokeperson is performing poorly.)

Advertisers have done this in the past for big events like the Super Bowl or other championships. It would be interesting to see what concessions both advertisers and the networks covering live events would have to make both financially and in terms of content to make that kind of advertising on a more regular basis feasible.

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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