SBD/Issue 24/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

TBS Moving Some LDS Advertisers To Phillies-Dodgers Series

TBS accommodated all of the advertisers that had bought time in Game Four of the three Division Series three-game sweeps by moving them into the NLCS. Turner execs said "about a half dozen" advertisers were moved, helping the network completely sell out the first four games of the NLCS. "Our risk now is if the LCS goes to a sweep," said Turner Sports Exec VP/Ad Sales & Marketing Jon Diament. Networks typically sell the first three games of a five-game series (or four games of a seven-game series) -- the games that are guaranteed to be played. "They really front-loaded their schedules anyway," said Carat USA Group Dir Mike Law. "As long as the LCS goes to five games, they'll be OK. Games Six and Seven are gravy." However, should the NLCS also be a short series, many unused ads would be distributed to other Turner Sports properties, like the NBA. Others would have to be moved elsewhere on Turner's schedule. Law said some categories, like pharmaceuticals, would resist a move to the NBA because its targeted demographic is much older than the NBA's. "There are a group of advertisers that could not move to the NBA," Law said. Spots typically bought during the upfront selling season are moved to other entertainment programs, but Diament said none of those would be affected by a short series. He added the Division Series' high ratings allowed the NLCS to accommodate advertisers affected by the sweeps. Networks usually hold a certain number of spots open in case the network does not hit certain ratings guarantees. There was no worry about that happening with the Division Series. TBS averaged a 3.6 cable rating and 4.769 million viewers for its coverage of 13 Division Series games -- numbers that are up 9% and 11%, respectively. That helped TBS achieve its most-viewed week in its 33-year history. "We were really happy with the ratings," said Optimedia Exec VP and Dir of National Electronic Media Larry Novenstern. "For us, it was a win-win. For Turner, with the short series, it probably wasn't" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

LAMENTING WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Turner Sports President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy said the network's 11% viewership growth for this year's MLB Division Series playoff round could have been in excess of 15% had three of the four series not ended in sweeps. Levy said, "I do feel like we left something on the table. Our 11% [growth] could have instead been a 15, 20% jump had things broken differently, particularly if we got up to 15, 16 games or so," Levy said. The net aired 15 Division Series games last year. "The good news is that we can grow further next year. We've had a lot of really great games, close back-and-forth games, great matchups. So what we're after now is seeing the [NLCS] go deep" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

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