Our BLOG

The Absence Of Sports Effects On Advertising

Guy Rancourt, VP of Media
May 14, 2020

I miss sports – both personally and professionally – and I know I’m not alone. Those sentiments are echoed in conversations almost as frequently as you hear people say they miss seeing friends or just going out to eat.

An unintentional consequence of COVID-19 is the realization of how much sports powers the advertising world. The absence of sports has thrown our marketing ecosystem into flux, and the ripple effect of canceling major sporting events is being felt across all mediums and all categories.

In the short term, the loss of linear GRP’s, digital impressions and multi-platform marketing opportunities, not to mention the amount of unspent dollars freed up with these cancellations, is staggering. Countless marketers rely on the scale and platforms that events like the NCAA Tournament, professional sports seasons and the Olympics provide in order to showcase, launch and sustain their businesses. Removing these from the marketing equation is proving to be troublesome for many brands and agencies. Countless conversations, spreadsheets, flowcharts, meetings and revisions – all culminating in media plans of which sports play a major role. Poof! Gone. All for naught. But when they eventually come back this fall, what does that mean for the marketplace? It should be good news for brands and agencies.

Many events have already been stricken from the 2020 calendar: the NCAA Tournament, Wimbledon, Tokyo Summer Olympics and The British Open, to name a few. While others have been postponed until later this summer and fall – NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, Major League Baseball, The Masters, French Open, Kentucky Derby – many more still wait for their fates to be determined. 

As the leagues and television partners continue their weekly dialogues around how and when they can resume play, there are countless rumors swirling about how each of them will land the plane:

  •   Playing the NBA season at Disney World
  •   Pushing the college football season to the spring of 2021
  •   Sequester all MLB teams and staffs in Arizona and Florida
  •   Eliminate NFL bye weeks to squeeze in games in the event of a delay

While all of these options are up for consideration, they’re merely speculative solves until the country gets a handle on the Coronavirus. But the point here is that they are all working on solutions to resume play. Each already has mapped out countless scenarios and contingency plans to employ, once they are given the all-clear, in an effort to save their seasons. And they may all come back around the same time later this summer and into the fall.

Clearly, there are more grave and consequential things going on in the world, so I do not highlight the lack of sports as the most pressing of challenges facing us. But make no mistake – the removal of sports has turned the marketing world on its head. According to Bloomberg, more than $2.5 billion dollars have been removed from the market this year already. 

That’s billion, with a B. 

We’re undoubtedly headed for a recession as businesses try to recover later this year and into next. We also know that production schedules for scripted entertainment will be impacted, causing delays in original programming. This will mostly affect prime time as their pilot season has been impacted the most – and who wants to invest heavily in what could be a light schedule of first-run scripted content this fall? As such, many are speculating that the sports marketplace will be flush with cash as the logical landing spot for all of those budgets. Another sellers’ market?

Consider this: the back half sports schedule will be very condensed when all of these sports return. Imagine this very real scenario on November 15th: Sunday final of The Masters, followed by a National NFL window that then leads right into a World Series Game and Sunday Night Football. Talk about feast or famine. The point I’m making is that there should be a concentration of premium sports impressions in a tight window. Will there really be enough demand for this glut of sports GRP’s? Our industry is quick to say that sports – and football in particular – are mostly immune to market fluctuations. But can Madison Avenue afford to fund all of these hungry mouths this fall? 

I say no, and I think brands and agencies are in store for one of the softest sports marketplaces in a long time. Even the mighty NFL shield could see dents in the armor for the first time in a long time.

Related Posts

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Oct. 12, 2020

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. FACEBOOK WILL TEST SHOPPING FROM REELS LATER THIS YEAR Instagram only widely launched its TikTok competitor Reels in August, and it’s already looking to monetize the format. The company announced today that it’ll start testing shopping within Reels later this year and will also start making shoppable IGTV videos global starting today. Eventually, these IGTV videos will also be available through Instagram Shop, a dedicated page for shopping within the app. Viewers can just tap through an IGTV video and purchase the items they’re interested in through Instagram checkout or the seller’s website. Learn More COVERING COMMENTS IS INSTAGRAM’S NEWEST ANTI-BULLYING TOOL On Tuesday, Instagram is adding two new tools to its repertoire. First, the platform will automatically hide comments that look like they might constitute bullying even if they aren’t obviously breaking the rules. Second, it will send a new warning message for users whose comments are repeatedly flagged as toxic, in the hope of changing behavior at the onset. Read More FACEBOOK LAUNCHES 'SEASON OF SUPPORT' TO ASSIST SMBS, INCLUDING NEW #BUYBLACKFRIDAY PUSH Facebook has announced a new 'Season of Support' initiative to provide a boost SMBs in the last quarter of the year, which will include free resources, education, and training to help small businesses make the most of the holiday season. Learn More ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION RECOMMENDS MAJOR CHANGES TO FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, APPLE, AND AMAZON After a 16-month investigation, the House Antitrust Subcommittee has found that Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon do hold ‘monopoly power’ over their respective markets, and has proposed significant changes to address how they operate. Read More That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next. 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2020

Spanning September 15 - October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions, history and culture of Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to share how some of our AMPers are celebrating and what their heritage means to them. Check out what they had to say below. Shayne Ortiz, Senior Analyst “We are resilient, hardworking, passionate, caring and unified. We have heart, spirit and soul, sabor Latino. We celebrate the importance of family, tradition and most importantly the culture that continues to inspire people outside of the Hispanic/Latinx community generation after generation.”  Michael Mish, SVP, General Manager “I think it’s important for all of us to appreciate where we come from. I’m proud of my Puerto Rican heritage, the family & cultural values instilled in me, and the examples of hard work, strength, sacrifice, dedication and passion that have guided me. The food and music is kind of good too  :)" Sam Cabrera,  Associate Director of Experience “I’m a proud daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Nicaragua. My childhood was spent with my mom’s small family here in the states for every holiday or visiting my grandparents in the summer in Guadalajara, Mx (this picture is of me by the famous cathedral). HHM is a time for me to reflect and celebrate my mixed culture, language, food, family, and music with others.” Jon Bishop, Director of Creative Technology “Family is everything. It doesn’t matter how far or how long we’re apart. My favorite memories are the food, the dancing and visiting la finca in my mom’s hometown in Puerto Rico.” Eva Parlato, Senior Art Director "There are so many things I love about being Puerto Rican, so to celebrate, I try to enjoy things like our delicious food, music, and dancing. When it comes to Puerto Ricans, where there's music playing, there are probably people dancing. And if there isn’t music playing, we'll usually bring it ourselves! Being part of a culture that is so vibrant, warm, and energetic is something I’m very proud of, but my absolute favorite thing is probably the love for dancing!" Gabe Sousa, Junior Creative Technologist  “My favorite thing about being Brazilian is how friendly and welcoming Brazilians naturally are especially when we find each other outside of Brazil” Interested in working at AMP? Check out our careers page for our current openings.

Ken Blake Joins AMP Agency as VP of Analytics

We’re excited to announce that Ken Blake has joined the AMP team as the new VP of Analytics. In his new position, Blake will help elevate the analytic footprint of the agency while working with notable clients, such as Zillow.  Check out what General Manager, Michael Mish had to say about the hire: “Our agency value proposition is grounded in driving growth for our brand partners. Advanced analytics, data science and modelling is an area that AMP will continue to invest in to enable us to identify, recommend and prioritize high value initiatives. We’re excited to welcome Ken to the team”- Michael Mish Here’s what Blake aims to do in his new role on the AMP team:  “We want to continue to enhance the analytics practice at AMP and lead with analytics as a service offering. Many agencies have strong measurement and dashboard capabilities, but fall short with predictive analytics and customer insight. For us, it’s about using data to figure out which customers our clients should invest in, and then applying deep insight to help them better serve those customers.” Prior to joining AMP Agency, Blake was the Senior Director of Customer Analytics at Staples, Where he led a 45 member team.  Want to know more about our newest AMPer? Take a look at these industry publications:  https://adage.com/people-on-the-move/ken-blake  https://www.lbbonline.com/news/former-staples-executive-joins-amp-agency-as-vp-of-analytics  Learn more about AMP Agency’s analytics practice.