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How is the NFL Dominating the Field of Playoff Advertising?

How is the NFL Dominating the Field of Playoff Advertising?

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The NFL advertising game is changing. In 2018, liquor brands were finally permitted to advertise during games and National Football League (NFL) sponsorship increased, along with the league’s TV ratings and use of Snapchat as a promotional tool.

Advertising during NFL’s opening weekend also grew, a trend very similar to what’s been happening during the NFL playoffs since 2014.

NFL’s Large Share of Playoff Advertising Revenue

As CEO and Co-Founder of MediaRadar, Todd Krizelman, pointed out that, “When comparing advertising revenue between the 2017 and 2018 playoffs for these four major leagues, the NFL dominates.” In fact, the NFL’s playoff advertising share has increased by 19% since 2014, according to Forbes. The league’s “share of playoff advertising revenue relative to its three main competitors — the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL) —increased to 62%, from 52%.” Of that total ad spend, the NBA barely brought in 24%. In its 33 games, the MLB drew 10% and, across its 84 playoff games, the NHL drew the least amount: only 4%.

Share of 2018 Playoff Advertising Spend pie chart
A pie chart, detailing the share of 2018 playoff advertising spend.

NFL Playoff’s High Renewal Rate

Despite the political controversy surrounding former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and the sport, the National Football League still received a 90% renewal rate for its 2017 to 2018 season, meaning that many companies were still advertising with the NFL during this time (An example of a brand advertising involves Nike and its native ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick). The other sports, the NHL, MLB and NBA, only saw renewal rates between 55% and 65%. The NHL, for instance, only received a 54% renewal rate from the 2017 playoffs to the 2018 playoffs.

NFL’s Increased Number of Advertisers 

As shown by the bar graph below, the only two US sports playoffs that increased their number of advertisers last year were the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Football League (NFL). The NHL’s inflation percentage during the 2018 playoffs was slight at only plus 1%.

Number of Playoff Advertisers by Sport YoY graph
A bar graph of the number of playoff advertisers, categorized by US sport year over year (YoY).

Top 5 Companies Advertising in the NFL Playoffs

1. Verizon Communications, Inc.

Coming in first place out of more than 725 companies is Verizon Communication, Inc because it spent the most advertising during the NFL playoffs. The American telecommunications company spent over $100 million and advertised in at least one of the league’s playoff games. It was the highest spender in the NFL as well as the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs. Find Verizon’s brand profile page here.

2. Ford Motor Company

Ford came in second place, spending just under $100 million. Learn more about the automaker on Ford’s brand profile page.

3. Toyota Group

The Toyota Group threw over $75 million ad dollars in the ring to participate in the NFL advertising game. Toyota Motor’s brand profile page will give you even more insight into this multinational automotive manufacturer.

4. Anheuser-Busch, InBev SA/NV

The American brewing company spent more than $50 million to advertise during the NFL playoffs. For more information about it, check out the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand profile page.

5. EXOR S.p.A

In last place is the holding company, EXOR S.p.A. Like Anheuser-Busch, InBev, it also spent over $50 million.

Top 3 Product Categories Spending During the NFL Playoffs

1. Technology

Coming in first in the list of top product categories is technology. It spent over $350 million during the NFL playoffs.

2. Automotive

Automotive also threw its hat in the NFL advertising ring and spent more than $350 million.

3. Financial and Real Estate

Financial and Real Estate is third place. It cost this combination category over $300 million to advertise in the NFL playoffs.

4. Retailer and Wholesale

The product category, Retailer and Wholesale, spent over $225 million to make it to fourth place.

5. Media and Entertainment

In last place is Media and Entertainment. Compared to the other product categories, it spent just over $125 million.