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NFL Television Advertising Rates up Despite Falling Ratings, Revenues

Action during a recent game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. Photo: CNN Money

Despite declining ratings and ad revenues of National Football League (NFL) programming on U.S. networks, costs for average 30-second commercials across all networks showing NFL games in September were up 4 percent to $489,193 versus a year ago – and 10 percent higher than 2014.

According to Standard Media Index (SMI), broadcast television network spending was down 13.2 percent, with prime-time revenue down 16 percent. All cable networks were virtually flat – up 0.7 percent for September.

SMI points to a shift in money, placed in August – into the Olympics – as the reason for the decline. The average unit cost across four major broadcast networks – ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox – during the prime time (excluding sports) – was down 7.6 percent to $86,000 for a 30-second commercial from $93,300 in 2015. SMI also points to much lower broadcast spending resulting from FanDuel and DraftKings, two sports fantasy leagues – which spent around $100 million collectively a year ago. Much of this caused by state legal actions declaring the businesses were illegal gambling efforts.

“A large part of that spending went into sports programming – especially the NFL,” explains Wayne Friedman on the TelevisionNewsDaily website of MediaPost. But all this comes against sharp declines – double-digit ratings drops – so far this season.”

Sunday afternoon NFL programming has seen an 11 percent increase in the cost per 30-second commercial on Fox and CBS; with NBC witnessing a 9 percent gain for Sunday Night Football. CBS’ Thursday Night Football was flat versus the same time last year, while ESPN had a double-digit decline on their 30-second commercials for Monday Night Football from the same period in 2015.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.


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