With more than $68 billion invested in sponsorships last year and signing the NBA record (estimated at $75 billion) and the NFL ($110 billion) with the media, has the world gone mad? Or are home team fans really worth more to advertisers than other audiences?
YouGov conducted a large-scale study of thousands of fans who watch most or nearly all MLB, NBA or NHL games played by their favorite teams. Comparing these fans to the national population reveals significant differences that help explain why brands flock to sports sponsorships and programming.
How are sports fans different?
Fans who follow the Yankees or the Red Sox, the Spurs or the Mavericks, the Sharks or the Kings, the Big 10 or the Pac 12, are different characteristics and behaviors from Americans who do not follow local teams MLB, NBA, NHL or NCAA. In short, sports fans are more open, receptive and engaged in marketing, media and messaging than non-fans.
In the first of this three-part series, data is reported to illustrate how home team sports fans are more sponsor-friendly, ad-receptive, and engaging than non-fans. Part two of the series discusses how home team fans are game-friendly, sales-prone and, as market savvy, important brand influencers. The third part of the series explains the differences in terms of personality types and the demographic differences that attract advertisers.
Each of the following graphs shows the percentage of fans who agree with a statement divided by the percentage of the nation’s population who agree with the statement to produce an indexed score. Responses are drawn from samples of several thousand supporters of local MLB, NBA or NHL teams compared to a representative sample of the national population. The difference between home team supporters and the general population is statistically significantly different for all items reported.
Fans support sponsors because their passion for the home team transfers to corporate partners who integrate their brand personalities with those of the team. Some partners, like the brands holding the naming rights to 18 MLB parks, do this better than others.
It’s fair to say that Americans who don’t watch most or all of their hometown team’s games aren’t as likely to agree with the items below because they don’t watch , don’t attend or listen to games very much. But that’s the point. The point of passion, i.e., which allows a brand to focus its efforts on a unifying touchpoint that attracts attention, interest, devotion and action among the millions of fans of a team. Americans have other points of passion, but not as focused on one thing in one geographic area.
What matters are the actions fans take to seek out, pay attention, notice, spend time with, and ultimately buy from the brands that sponsor their favorite teams.
Fans may not be ready for a mark front and center of jerseys in all sports to datebut over time latecomers will come to accept them, just like in Europe, the UK and MLS.
Responsive to advertisements
Sports fans seem to have more open-mindednessmaking them more open and receptive to new experiences, new information and new ideas.
Brands find a ready audience for fans who want to discover what’s new. That’s why brands pay more per thousand (CPM) of fans reached through sponsorships than for comparable media aimed at segments of the general population.
While the average person may overlook signs, billboards, and advertisements, sports fans actively seek out this information. Similar to fashionistas in a mall, sports fans research, explore and absorb everything when they attend a game.
The main media advantage of sport is that it is most often consumed live. Audiences are less likely to compress, skip, or skip ads when watched live. Fans hunker down, waiting for play to resume, which means a greater likelihood of exposure to ads.
Leagues, media and brands are tapping into the passion of fans on broadcasts with split screens showing commercials while keeping the cameras moving on the playing field. golf majors like the Open in 2016 and has been so well received by fans that it continues to expand into other sports.
Admittedly, some brands overdo it. A recent Advertising Research Journal article reveals that official MLB sponsors can waste money if they are already well-known with strong brand personalities and burn out fans. The fans across the pond feel the same about some crickets sponsors.
But generally speaking, home team fans are more likely to be trusted, engaged and entertained by advertising than the general population. Coupling ads with team broadcasts, social media, and digital media creates higher engagement. Companies like Zoomph, hookitand flashes track and evaluate brand engagement levels to compare with other non-sports media investments.
The next in the series
Billions spent on sports sponsorships and media deals don’t mean the world has gone mad. In an ever-fragmenting universe, sport is a unifying force that captures the attention of millions of fans every week every fall, winter, spring and summer.
From a brand marketing perspective, finding a receptive audience is important. Even better is when the public becomes the intermediary for others, in the second part of this series of addresses showing that home team fans are favorable to the game, inclined to sales and act as experts in the game. market to influence others.