The Price for Ad Spots at Sporting Events Is Too Damn High! Is This a PR Opportunity?

Advertisers are starting to balk at the high price of advertising during major sporting events. Can PR capitalize?

march madness tweetEach year, many (many, many) stories are written about the skyrocketing prices for advertising during the Super Bowl, March Madness, World Series, on a NASCAR hot rod and on and on the list goes. As valuable as these captive audiences are, it looks like the folks selling this ad space may be taking the price tags a bit too far. Marketers “warn a ‘day of reckoning’ is coming when Madison Avenue will just say ‘No’ to hyper-expensive sports programming.” Oh snap.

Panelists speaking at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports caution that the high costs for running an ad during these events is eating away at more and more of their budgets. As a result, marketers are seriously considering finding other, more economical ways to reach audiences. Seriously. They’re not even joking!

That’s where you come in, public relations.

According to the Ad Age story about the panel, marketers will be looking for the sports organizations to get “more creative” about how brands reach audiences. And by creative, they mean putting ads on the sidelines.

Can we possibly get a little more creative?

These days, quick thinking publicists who post a clever tweet or publish a funny Vine video can get as much attention as a high-priced 30-second spot. Newcastle Brown Ale, if you recall, made an entire Super Bowl campaign focused on the fact that they didn’t have the cash to actually run a Super Bowl ad.

These sorts of campaigns, however, are only going to work if you take smart risks with the brand (like Newcastle did) and you’re bold and smart about your use of the different, less expensive options. PRs who pick up their game and maybe even work with some of these frustrated advertising gurus can create an alternative that makes a splash for a lot less money.

But first, advertisers have to get over the impulse to keep up with the Joneses. Fearing that they’re missing out, they pile onto these ad spots, which is part of the reason why prices have gone up the way they have. Will someone buy some corner of the sideline where they can put their logo and keep their fingers crossed that the camera points in that direction once or twice? Absolutely. Hopefully, that’s not your client.

Publish date: March 25, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT