Business Trends

In-Game Advertising Maximizes Marketing Dollars In Sports Category; New Mobile Advertising Opportunity for the Sports Industry

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 at 7:38 pm

According to a recent study conducted by TNS, advertisers interested in sports content who are not leveraging in-game advertising are missing a big opportunity. The company released findings from the ESPN Sports Poll, a monthly tracking study that explored the similarities among traditional sports fans and the sports gamer audience.

“Fans consume sports in multidimensional ways,” said Robert Fox, Senior Vice President at TNS and Executive Director of the ESPN Sports Poll. “Today’s interactive entertainment enables fans to engage with their favorite sports on a platform that looks incredibly close to the real thing.  When a person is engaged in the video game, there is no channel surfing, and the game is paused only for necessity. This is a terrific way for real-world advertisers and sponsors to develop incremental affinity for their brands.” 

Avid Fans Create an Opportunity for Marketers

The average Sports Fan follows six to eight different sports. Marketers are challenged to capture fans’ attention.  Sports Poll data has consistently shown that the average person is an “Avid” Fan of two to three sports.  By targeting the “Avid Fans”, marketing campaigns have a much better chance of being noticed by the audience that is paying the most attention, and is likely driving their business.

At 85 million, the National Football League has the largest number of Avid Fans, followed by college football (64 million) and Major League Baseball (53 million).

Sports Video Games are a Targeted Approach for Reaching the Same Avid Sports Fans Marketers Want to Reach

About half of the households in the country own a gaming console.  Of those households, half of the sports fans and 69% of the avid sports fans own at least one sports video game.  The demographic profile of the Sports Gamer is favorable to brands wanting to reach their target market through sports. 

•Three-quarters of these players are male
•More than half are between the ages of 18-34
•They tend to be single males with disposable income
•Most surprisingly, they are more physically active than sports fans in general (60% of Sports Gamers have exercised or participated in a sports activity within the past week compared with 44% of sports fans.)

Advice for Marketers

Sports video games represent an attractive opportunity for marketers to activate sponsor commitments already in place.  IEG Sponsorship estimates that about $12B, or 68 cents of every dollar, is spent on sponsorship that is sports related.  Those sponsorship investments require activation to be effective. The Sports Poll study shows that three out of four sports fans say that in-game advertising plays a part in reinforcing a company’s real-world sponsorship of that sport.

“Fans have grown to expect that the game experience mirrors the real world and allows them to be Mark Sanchez for the night.  Part of the authenticity is the advertising that is imbedded in the game or that is dynamically served during connected play, and includes the finer details like in-stadium and in-arena signage,” said Elizabeth Harz, Senior Vice President, Global Media Sales at Electronic Arts.  “For sponsors looking to differentiate their brand in a crowded field, the Sports Gamer is influential and the messaging options robust.”

(1) Question Wording:  Thinking of the sports video games you own, in a typical week during that sport’s season, do you spend more time watching live sports on television or playing sports video games (Responses were rotated).

RainedOut now allows companies to sponsor text messages sent to their members

Omnilert, LLC, maker of RainedOut, the first text message service for sports leagues and clubs, has announced a new mobile advertising medium. All RainedOut text messages will now contain a national sponsor incorporated at the end of the RainedOut notification. In a world where content is king, this opens up a unique opportunity for companies trying to reach the highly mobile sports industry. The first national sponsor is a brand from Sony called Crackle.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for all involved,” explained Ara Bagdasarian, CEO of Omnilert. “RainedOut customers will continue to enjoy our award-winning communication service free of charge, and national brands can sponsor sports organizations and receive recognition on each message.”

Players, parents, and fans opt in to RainedOut for relevant content, not spam or unsolicited ‘coupons,’ to be sent to their cell phone via SMS text messages. RainedOut delivers time-sensitive news such as game cancellations, field changes, requests for volunteers, and much more. Each text message is 160 characters long with the last 20 characters displaying a national sponsor.

“Mobile advertising up to this point has required brands to hire expensive mobile marketing firms and slowly grow their own opt-in list,” said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., the Principal Analyst at MobileTrax LLC. “RainedOut offers one of the first mobile marketing opportunities that bring willing participants to the table – and at a very low cost of entry. This is a mobile service that every sports fan can appreciate, especially considering all the recent weather delays from the Daytona 500 to the Winter Olympics. I think this technique is going to be copied by a lot of other people in the industry.”

This new advertising medium allows companies to reach hundreds of thousands of eyeballs in the sports-oriented demographic. They achieve positive brand association by supporting non-profit sports organizations across America.

Each sponsor message is read on the mobile phone – a very captive environment. Sponsors receive a fast impression – 95% of text messages are read within 4 minutes. This creates what is called ‘situation-based advertising’ – a day-changing event for a customer creates a new opportunity to spend time and money.

The 20-character sponsor text can be in the form of a hyperlink, so smartphone recipients can click it to reach a website or unique landing page, which further strengthens the power of this new advertising medium. Sponsors can see the results of their mobile advertising campaigns in real time. Sponsors do not have access to individual members’ data as RainedOut enforces a zero-spam policy.

Current participating sports include:

Nationwide youth, collegiate, and adult league sports
YMCAs, Boy Scouts, and regional/county/city parks & recreation departments
•Soccer, football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, swimming, hockey, and cheerleading
•Auto racing speedways, dragways, dirt tracks, and many more

Related Links

Video Games in the U.S.IBISWorld industry report

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