SBD/August 20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC Asks 25-50% More For EPL Ads Than In '12, But Many Sponsors Already On Board

NBC has told advertisers the EPL's audience profile is similar to the NHL's
NBC Sports "figures it can kick up ratings" for its EPL games and "wants advertisers to pay for those higher numbers," according to Jon Lafayette of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Despite what "media buyers say is a 25%-50% price hike from what Fox and ESPN charged last year, several advertisers already have bought seven-figure sponsorship packages" that span 380 live games and 600 hours of EPL shoulder programming. Early sponsors include GM, Chrysler, Land Rover, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Morgan Stanley, Anheuser-Busch, Burger King, EA Sports and online sports equipment retailer Sports Endeavors. NBC Sports Group Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said, "That’s just the tip of the iceberg because we are working to establish the premium we believe the sport deserves. So some of our negotiations are a bit slower than we might have liked." Winter has been "telling advertisers that the Premier League’s audience profile will be similar" to what the NHL attracts: "upscale young men." Winter said that he is "looking to add two kinds of sponsors." Some are brands that "advertise on other sports properties looking for male consumers," while others are "less traditional TV advertisers that believe Premier League soccer is a good fit" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 8/19 issue).

EXTRA HEADACHE: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported Comcast on Saturday "chose to distribute" NBC's Extra Time game feeds for the EPL through its Xfinity On Demand platform. That was "a good idea in theory," but "a total disaster in practice." There was the issue of game feeds "not showing up" until 9:50am ET, "just 10 minutes before the games were to start." Because the feeds went live so close to kickoff, "many fans weren’t sure if the system was working properly." An "even worse problem" arose after kickoff. Tannenwald: "Say you started out watching Sunderland-Fulham, then wanted to switch over to West Ham-Cardiff City. When you did so, you got West Ham-Cardiff at the start of the broadcast, instead of live. If you then switched back to Sunderland-Fulham, you ended up either at the point where you left off or at zero again" (PHILLY.com, 8/19).
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