You may have noticed short ad spots during the Vikings-Lions in-game broadcast (i.e. not commercial timeouts) on Thanksgiving. The ads, which relegate the game being watched to a secondary box on the screen, are meant to be less disruptive than traditional commercial breaks and are designed to help reduce the duration of the broadcast. Fox (FOXA) first ran the 6-second micro spots during the 2017 World Series, with Metrix Data reporting increased recall and likability metrics for advertisers. T-Mobile’s EVP of marketing and experience said his company found the ads to be “hugely effective” (Metrix Data said 2x), particularly for delivery of a call to action.
Howie Long-Short: FOXA is pricing the 6-second ads at the same rate as their 15 second spots, so one could assume the company will increase the number of ads while still reducing the duration of the overall broadcast. That would help linear broadcasters, should ad revenue eventually drop off, as they continue to lose subscribers (and ratings); but that hasn’t been the case thus far. October ’17 ad revenue (generated during game broadcasts) was up 3% (to $738 million) across all networks that carry league games. Just another reason why linear television rights will continue to grow well into the next decade.
Fan Marino: Have you ever wondered why the Lions and Cowboys always play on Thanksgiving? Fun Fact: The Lions (named Spartans at the time) played their first Thanksgiving game in 1934 as a marketing ploy. Though the team lost (to the Bears), they sold out their 26,000-seat stadium; making the event a success. The team has been playing on the holiday since. When the NFL wanted to add a second Thanksgiving game, in 1966, the Cowboys volunteered to host (most teams did not want to interrupt Thanksgiving dinner); the team was still relatively new and GM Tex Schramm thought it could use the exposure. The Cowboys beat the Browns that year and today’s Thanksgiving tradition was formed. Final Note: The Cowboys did not play on Thanksgiving in 1975 or 1977. The St. Louis Cardinals hosted the second Thanksgiving game in those seasons.
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