Why live sport remains pivotal for brands

William Jackson, Broadcast Media Assistant


Whichever way you cut it, our media consumption continues to fragment, and with that comes the hundreds of platforms vying for the juiciest slice of the media pie. These days we seldom interact with a single entity: you may binge a boxset, have a quick scroll on Facebook, watch a TikTok or buffer that ‘Super Easy Poached Eggs’ video on YouTube… all at the same time.

Is there really any place left that commands our true attention? Or will we forever flit between every screen available?

There is one place where this genuinely exists…and that’s with live sport.

I mean who wants to miss a goal as it happens? Who wants to be the last to find out that their team has bagged an equaliser in the 94th minute? Who missed seeing England win the Cricket World Cup in a Super Over?!

These aren’t those typical ‘ah, I’ll catch up’ moments. These are the ‘you had to be there’ moments.

Of course, we can’t all be crammed into the stadium; we get our fix through TV. Whether it’s a Saturday afternoon in the pub with your mates or in the comfort of your home, you always feel involved when watching live sport.

So what does this mean for advertising? For brands, sport offers an unparalleled medium for delivering brands safe messaging on mass. Everyone seeing your message at the same time, in the same place, and in a similar mood – your team may be losing, but you’re still stimulated, engaged and more responsive to messaging.

The importance of live sport was highlighted by the return of many sporting fixtures after Covid-19 postponements, especially football. With stadiums shut for the foreseeable, many more have turned to TV. The return of the Premier League on the 17th June gave the Sky Sports portfolio its biggest daily share of commercial viewing for Men 16-34 since the BARB panel changed in 2010. It also saw 75% of those tuning in favour Sky Sports Main Event, which had introduced crowd noise, demonstrating viewers desire to feel in the moment.

Even in isolation, live sport once again offered a sense of unity, and that unity offers an amplified benefit to advertisers.