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Volume 23 No. 24
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TV spend for biggest sports advertisers down 30%

Advertising during televised sports programming is down 30% from the same time last year to  $1.45 billion, according to data provided to Sports Business Journal by iSpot.tv.

Geico, annually one of the top advertisers, spent $138.4 million from the beginning of the year through June 7, the most of any brand. That spend is 37% less than during the same time period in 2019. Nineteen of the other 25 biggest spenders also reduced their outlay by double digits. Many corporate partners, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Motors and AB InBev,  announced reduced sports marketing efforts during the pandemic. 

The biggest adjustment came from the auto industry, whose collective spend of about $315 million is less than half of the comparable 2019 investment. Nearly all of Buick’s sports spending, for example, is traditionally earmarked for golf and college basketball, two sports that lost out on significant TV exposure. Kia spent $9 million on NBA telecasts prior to the league’s shutdown, which was 12% of the brand’s entire ad spend.

 Spending was down in all advertising categories, in part because of reduced inventory. Among the outliers, T-Mobile had already spent $62.3 million (up 5%) before its biggest league asset, MLB, had started play. 

Copper Fit, the copper-infused compression sleeves, went from a $4.1 million spend a year ago to $41.8 million so far, with the majority of that coming since the beginning of the U.S. quarantine.

Among big sports spenders, Gatorade and Coors Light registered drops of 73% and 66%.

Commercials are measured by iSpot.tv during live, time-shifted network and cable programming, video on demand, over-the-top and local TV.