Sports Advertising in 2020 – What You Should Really Know


Every single industry on the planet has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it spread across the globe earlier in the year, upheaval has been felt in everything from small businesses to sports stadiums. While the response to the pandemic has been different for different professional sports agencies, one thing is clear to sports advertising agencies: this season will be unlike any other in history.

The pandemic has halted seasons, caused major delays and dropped TV advertising spends by 30%, but it has also created new opportunities for businesses and sports advertising agencies to rethink their approaches. Here are a few things that these agencies are doing differently in a new and different world of sports advertising.

Influencer Marketing is Growing

Sponsorships have always been a major part of sports advertising. That will never change. What has changed is how people can personally connect with their favorite sports stars through social media platforms. Even as the pandemic devastated industries, influencers and influencer marketing have only grown in that same time. That includes sports stars, and sports advertising agencies are looking to broker deals with them directly on the platforms.

sports advertising agenciesPartnering with the right sports advertising agencies can turn an advertising campaign into a powerhouse combination of traditional buys and brokered deals that can include leveraging sports stars with strong social media followings.

It’s Time to Look Elsewhere

If Fantasy Football has proven anything, it is that the money made in sports is often further outside of sports organizations than we can even imagine. This has only become more apparent in a world without seasons. After all, the networked industries that rely on sports, from podcasts and commentary shows to local businesses who set up shop near stadiums, all need to keep going. And with this new realization, sports advertising agencies are now broadening their approach.

Social media and TV buys are no longer the only ways to reach sports fans. Now, the best sports advertising agencies are looking to the myriad other industries related. Many of these can offer incredible reach for a fraction of the price of traditional media, even when you consider the number of people per spend. It is these types of opportunities that can offer a strong top-of-mind presence even as sports seasons are in disarray.

“480p” Advertising

4k televisions have been advertised extensively as improving the sports-watching experience. Outside of seats right next to the action, there is arguably no better way to watch sports. But the pandemic has also made sports advertising agencies realize that this isn’t true for advertising. In fact, the world has seen an explosion in ads and campaigns that rely less on flashy, high definition, cinematic campaigns, and instead on something that is a little more authentic.

Probably there is no better example of this than the explosion of Cameo and TikTok during the first half of 2020. Cameo and TikTok are authentic, content made for phones and by phones. More and more video content is succeeding because it looks real rather than manufactured, and many sports advertising agencies are realizing the power of choosing to look a little worse than 4k.

At the core, strong advertising campaigns are a great idea that connects with people. By creating content that feels authentic, and maybe even literally filmed with a phone, can sometimes give people that feeling of authenticity. Campaigns today don’t need to look incredible to connect, and sports advertising agencies are understanding the power of great ideas that don’t need to look like an IMAX film.

The world has been turned upside-down by the pandemic of 2020. Sports are not alone in having to completely rethink how they operate, and, in turn, sports advertising has had to change and adapt as well. The passion fans have for their favorite teams has not diminished this year. If anything, people are eager to support their teams now more than ever. It also means that businesses and sports advertising agencies have had to completely rethink their approach to advertising. With big changes come the chance for major innovation. With expanded concepts of advertising and how to advertise, the world of sports advertising has undergone major change. Even when seasons return to something more normal, many of these innovations will stay.

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