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The NFL is once again proving to be a jackpot for advertisers looking to reach a loyal and niche audience. With millions of consumers tuning in to watch games every week leading up to the big game, the NFL offers a dedicated fan base and platform for advertisers to tap into to increase awareness, consideration, and ROAS.
Advertisers know that the NFL is a smart investment to score incremental reach among a diverse audience, whether it’s the regular season, playoffs, or the big game. Already off to a great start, the 2023 NFL draft saw a 12% increase in TV ratings, averaging 6 million viewers on ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network – proving this season is going to be a hit.
During the 2022 regular season, the NFL captivated an average of 16.7 million viewers per game, while an impressive 115.1 million viewers watched the big game, making it the most-watched NFL game in history. And although the average viewership was down slightly from 2021 partly due to the shift of Thursday Night Football from linear TV to Amazon Prime, the NFL accounted for 82 of the top 100 most-watched TV shows in 2022.
According to Nielsen, the NFL is comprised of a broad audience, split almost evenly between men and women, with 55% of viewers being male. Fans come from the full spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds but are considered relatively affluent with an average household income of $115k+. Notably, NFL audiences span a wide range of age groups, with 70% of viewers aged 18-49 (over-indexing P35-49), providing marketers with the opportunity to tailor advertisements to specific demographics within a broad audience.
Not only does the NFL provide a diverse fan base, but American football fans are one of the most devoted sports groups, supplying a highly engaged audience for marketers. According to CBS, this highly captivated audience tunes in for an average of four hours per week, and 97% of the viewership is watching games live, meaning fans are sitting through more advertisements. Understanding that this audience is highly influenced to purchase through ads
, only increases the value of the NFL for marketers and offers the opportunity to build brand affinity.
With recent shifts in industry trends, it’s no surprise fans have access to a wide variety of viewing options which gives marketers an array of ad opportunities and the possibility to strategically target audiences across multiple channels and touchpoints. And whether fans are switching from linear TV to smart TVs or internet-connected devices, viewership is projected to increase year-over-year as viewing options expand.
The latest research shows that NFL viewership on Smart TV devices has increased by 58% among fans aged 18-34, and while 59% of fans still plan to watch games on linear TV, 41% of fans are switching to OTT (CTV, smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.) to live-stream the season, allowing advertisers to engage with online audiences and deliver content in real-time. However, it means marketers are seeking an end-to-end advertising solution in this fragmented marketplace to meet fans where they are and activate brand messaging across screens.
Cadent’s data-driven solution to simplify the execution of cross-screen advertising through Aperture Platform, connects the entire TV ecosystem, unifying audiences, inventory, and measurement. Cadent enables brands to reach consumers across multiple devices for a more personalized and engaging experience. With an unparalleled depth of coverage across 90+ cable networks, 1100+ broadcast stations, and 100+ million households through CTV, Cadent connects audiences to screens through our patented cookie-less technology, mapping device IP addresses with household viewing habits.
The NFL is a sure bet to maximize ROI and reach a large audience with high engagement. By taking advantage of the various platforms and devices NFL audiences use to watch football-related content, marketers can create an impactful and effective ad campaign that connects with fans and creates strong brand affinity.
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