Sports Advertising Term Paper

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Sports Advertising

Does the flashing of a billboard sign make you want to see an advertised professional sports game? Do you feel an urge to buy sports memorabilia after seeing it advertised on a stadium billboard? And finally, do you get drawn to buying a certain advertised item after seeing it displayed in a sports program? These are all valid questions, one might ask themselves, when attending a sports game or when just pondering about the topic of sports advertisement. Sports teams spend money on advertisement in different ways and through different avenues. It is a part of the norm. For professional sports teams, today. Sports teams may advertise through billboards, stadiums, websites, television, banners, flying blimps or aerial banners, etc. How sports teams choose to advertise could affect their success. If a sports team chooses to use only one avenue to advertise their team, then they will likely not reap the benefits of those teams who choose a variety of advertising venues, such a mixture of those mentioned above.

With that being said, professional sports teams must keep in mind one thing above all else when it comes to marketing and advertisement, which is the audience. Lose the audience and you lose your market (Shelton, 2005). For example, in 1994, players went on a baseball strike, which lasted for 234 days. Fans began to lose their patience and interest, in turn leaving them with a difficult time trying to recapture interest in their teams, over the past 10 years. The baseball strike of 1994 left an important lesson to be learned, in relation to marketing and advertisement. The lesson learned was to always keep your audience happy. Topics to be discussed in this paper are cost of advertising for professional sports teams in relation to team overall budgets, sports and stadium advertisement costs for companies, and overall advertisement options for teams.

First of all, all professional sports teams spend money on advertising as a part of their budget or by using monies through different avenues in relation to the teams overall budget. Wherever the money comes from it is something that is needed in order to promote a team in a proper way to customers in the United States and around the world. All professional sports teams are different when it comes to the amount allotted in their overall budget and the amount spent on advertisement. A few examples can be discussed, so as to get a better overall picture of money spent on advertisement.

One example, to begin with, is the Women's National Basketball League (WNBA). The WNBA had a marketing budget of $15-million in 1998, with the American Basketball League (ABL) having a $5-million budget in the same year (Smith, 1998). Here the differences can be seen, as to how different teams have different marketing budgets. In many instances today, nationally, local taxpayers pay subsidies to professional sports facilities in the amount of $500 million dollars a year (Bast, 1998).

A typical sports facility costs more than $10 million a year. Many times competition among cities for professional sport franchises has dramatically lowered rent payments from teams, often to zero, and teams routinely claim all revenues from parking and concessions (Bast 1998). The marketing money allotted, at this point, is unknown, and is many times paid for by taxpayers. The Major League Baseball (MLB) has a total budget of 11.2 billion per year. After doing an extensive amount of research, it was found that much of the research in regards to budgets and advertising budgets and sports teams are not too public. It was difficult to even find the information above.

Secondly, stadiums are a major avenue for both sports teams companies alike to advertise their team or company. It is a major way to advertise toward many customers for these professional teams, not only in person, at the actual stadium, but also on television, as many professional games are often televised nationally. This is a way to get not only thousands but millions to see a particular advertisement.

Companies annually spend more than $25 billion on traditional sports advertising, including commercials at such high-profile events as the Olympics and Super Bowl. The Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, brought 1,210 hours of coverage containing more than 13,000 commercials. Adidas and Nike are two of the most well-known companies that paid $650,000 each to air 30-second commercials during prime-time. The highest cost of sports advertising, however, is in the NFL, where their most recent television contracts added up to more money than it would cost to buy every single team in the league (Shelton, 2005).

Lastly, professional sports teams have a choice of many different types of advertisement to use as venues to sell their team. In the early days, you may remember buying packs of bubble gum with baseball cards in them. In the very early days, the cards came in packs of cigarettes. Tobacco companies did this as an attempt to increase their tobacco sales. Today, cards representing most professional sports are sold across the country. One collector on e-Bay bought a Honus Wagner card for $1.27 million (Shelton, 2005).

Some professional sports teams may also use websites to advertise their team. Different websites may vary in price and size of the advertisement, but one thing is certain, websites are prime space for advertisement in this day in age. This is the age of technology and more and more, individuals are buying computers or have access to a computer in some way. People browse in a variety of different websites, as well.

Sports fans may browse more sports related websites, leading teams to advertise primarily on those websites. On the Fantasy Sports Stadium website, two types of advertising options are offered. The first is to sponsor or partner to the website and the second is through the use of banner ads. Fantasy Sports Stadium advertised that in a recent survey conducted throughout the industry, the number of estimated fantasy players is approximately 15 million, which may attract some professional sports teams or companies to want to advertise on their website. A banner ad on Fantasy Sports on the home page only costs $150 per month, $800 per 6 months, and $1,500 per 12 months. For member, team, and league homes the cost is $250 per month, $1,400 per 6 months, and $2,500 per 12 months. For all pages the cost is $400 per month, $2,000 per 6 months, and $3,500 per 12 months ("Fantasy Sports," 2004).

Other sports teams or companies may choose to advertise on things such as movie theatre screens, mini blimps or aerial banners. For these types of advertisement, after doing the research, it was found that individuals or companies may choose to inquire for a quote, for the advertisement needed. Prices are not usually listed; rather they negotiate more on a case-by-case basis. These types of advertisement can be very beneficial, as the audience for these types of advertisement can cover hundreds, thousands and even millions of people, depending on the extent of the advertisement.

In regards to aerial banners, Aerial Banners, Inc. has advertised for large companies, both locally and nationally, over the past 22 years, such as Ford Motor Company, Sunshine Network, Geico, Sony, and Zephyrhills, Toyota and many more. The company did a study as to percentages of people that the aerial banners reach. According to the study ("Aerial banners," 2005):

88% of persons questioned remembered the passing of the banner within the last 30 minutes.

79% of persons questioned remembered what was advertised.

67% of persons questioned could remember at least one-half of the message.

Another study, done through the same company, indicates that when the State of Maine Lottery was launched, various media shared the large advertising budget, with 6% allocated toward the use of aerial advertising.…[continue]

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