Being associated with a sports team may sound appealing, but may not be the best choice for your local media dollars.
There are 4 key items to consider before diving headfirst into purchasing a sports package:
1. The Price Tag
It sounds obvious, but many local media managers tend to forget the basic point, that there will be a hefty price tag associated with sports advertising. Sports packages are sold at a premium, meaning you could be paying up to three times as much as you would for a typical advertising schedule. You may be able to advertise for six months consistently for what it costs you to have presence in one game, every Sunday afternoon.
2. Your Primary Customer
Is there a natural tie-in with your product and those watching or listening to a sporting event? You don’t want to waste your money on the wrong eyes and ears. Sports advertising caters to a very niche audience. Make sure this is the audience you want, as a large monetary commitment to an unmotivated audience will lack a return on investment.
It is also important to note that sporting events are flooded with advertisers. You are just one of MANY. It’s easy for your message to get lost among the masses.
3. Target Geography
Sports packages are often sold on a “network” that will cover a number of DMAs and metros. This can be good or bad news for an advertiser, depending on their target geography.
For example, if you purchased a radio package for the University of Georgia, your commercials could run across the entire state, or even include neighboring states. If you only want to cover the Atlanta DMA, make sure to note this in your negotiation and only pay for the impressions that you need.
On the other hand, if you want to reach the entire region, like the Southeast or the Midwest, it can be more efficient to purchase a sponsorship with a college sports conference, which will reach the entire area, instead of purchasing each local market individually.
4. Your Emotional Connection
A sales person loves to approach a life long fan. The sales pitch is a no-brainer … Be part of your hometown team! You’ve cheered for this team your whole life. It’s so great that you get to be associated with something you love. What small business owner doesn’t want his friends to see him on TV, hear his jingle on the radio, or see his logo on a Jumbotron at a professional football game? Slow down! Lead with your head, not your heart. Will this investment lead to more store visits? Will it drive traffic?
So, when deciding to add a sports package to your local media mix, avoid sacrificing long-term, consistent advertising for limited short-term bursts. Ensure you’re prioritizing your primary customer, and leave your ego at the door. Economical and successful media schedules should be built to appeal to your defined customer, at the right time. This can be done without the large investment sports packages generally demand.