Skip to content

Live Events: TV’s “Ace in the Hole”

As evidenced by recent media spending on digital and TV ad campaigns, investment in video ads continues to rise toward parity with TV. But amidst this rise in digital spending, live TV events continue to be a big draw for advertisers and consumers. Stats published by eMarketer in partnership with Extreme Reach provide further proof of advertiser demand to back up this assertion. Here are three spending statistics that help explain why live events remain television’s “ace in the hole.”

Overall spending on TV’s biggest sporting events continues to grow
Perhaps the best sign of live TV’s continued clout with advertisers is spending on big “tentpole” sporting events like the World Series, Super Bowl and NCAA Men’s “Final Four.” According to data from Kantar Media cited by eMarketer, advertiser demand for these big live TV moments remains strong and growing. Based on Kantar’s estimates, advertiser investment across these three events grew from $574 million in 2010 to $779 million in 2015.

Ad spending on March Madness has doubled over the last decade
Another of the biggest recipients of live TV ad dollars over the past 10 years is the NCAA’s Final Four tournament. According to the same Kantar research source, ad spending on the men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship increased from $504 million in 2006 to $1.18 billion in 2015.

Per unit ad cost during the Super Bowl is up as well
Another promising sign for live TV spending is the average cost of TV spots during key events. Take the Super Bowl, for example, where the average per-unit price of a commercial jumped from $2.4 million in 2005 to $5 million in 2016.

There’s no way to know for sure how advertiser spending will evolve in the future. But based on the historical trends and current demand levels, investment in live TV gives no signs of slowing down any time soon. Expect live TV to remain a critical component of advertiser media plans in the years to come.