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Live Sports No Longer In Your Playbook? Simulmedia Has A Winning Game Plan

Mary Grace Scully
Mary Grace Scully
Updated: Apr. 27, 2022
Published: Jul. 09, 2020

As a Gator football fan, the Ivy League’s decision to postpone sports until reevaluation in spring makes me feel disheartened about the likelihood of fall SEC gamedays.

As a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, I’m worried the NFL will face postponement, too, due to accelerating cases of Covid across the U.S.

But most of all, as a marketer, I’m compelled to be proactive. Simulmedia is, too.

As cases spike in states where many of the pro sports leagues are hoping to play, such as Florida, Arizona and Nevada, prospective seasons continuing as scheduled is looking more bleak by the day. Simulmedia believes that sports leagues and municipalities are not prepared to safely resume competition. For this reason, we anticipate that most sports - professional and collegiate - will be postponed or canceled through the rest of the calendar year.

This is why Simulmedia has been monitoring what avid sports fans watch on TV when they’re not watching sports since March 12, when sports were first called off. We’re helping our clients reach even more sports viewers across national linear TV for a fraction of the price of coveted sports ad spots. Read on to learn how we’ve helped clients reallocate sports budgets.

But first, avid sports viewers are watching a lot of TV. Here are a couple key takeaways from our sports viewership reporting so far:

  • When sports were canceled in March, sports fans didn’t stop watching TV. They watched even more TV, just other programs besides sports. The chart on the left shows the total viewership of M18-49 Avid Sports Viewers. The chart on the right shows how sports networks dipped in viewership due to lack of live sports coverage.

Two line charts showing the viewership of sports viewers and viewership of sports networks.
  • Prior to March 12, die-hard sports fans’ TV viewing was highly concentrated on the weekend and on CBS, ESPN and Fox (visualized by fewer patches of red), three networks that ordinarily air a lot of sports programming.

Heatmap showing impressions delivered across TV networks for every TV daypart.

After March 12, their viewing fragmented across many more networks and dayparts, as shown by more patches of dark red.

Chart showing viewership fragmented

Reaching these sports fans, though, doesn’t just require heavier buys across all of cable and broadcast. Reaching more sports fans when they’re not watching sports requires precision, particularly since sports fans watch a lot of counter-intuitive programming. This includes, for example, heavier weekend viewing of Food Network and HGTV.

We have the results to prove it.

In mid March, Simulmedia received a call from our friends at Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media to turn around plans for clients that had spots in the Final Four.

"We have had several large advertisers pivot out of their NCAA Basketball packages and into some concoction of Simulmedia, Connected TV or digital,” said Sam Bloom, the CEO of Camelot. “In every single case, the client’s business (i.e. the cash register) is actually performing better year over year."

Simulmedia redeployed ad dollars that had been planned for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Our platform automatically surveyed hundreds of thousands of potential combinations of spots, homing in on the ones most likely to drive conversions. Even if we handed this plan off to a traditional provider, it would have taken weeks or months for them to negotiate a replacement schedule.

Thanks to our end-to-end platform’s software, we can whip up the complete plan in a matter of hours, and then actually activate that plan in a matter of days.

If you want to learn more about this campaign, and how Simulmedia can help you make the most of your fall playbook, read our 'How Simulmedia Helps Advertisers Reach Sports Fans' whitepaper that covers how Simulmedia finds sports viewers without live sports for a fraction of the cost.

Cover of the No Sports? No Problem. whitepaper that covers how advertisers can reach sports fans across the TV landscape.