The NFL has given its broadcast partners a mandate this season – reduce the number of billboard ads used during game broadcasts. A billboard ad usually occurs during a brief break in the action. The network will flash an advertiser’s logo on screen as the broadcaster reminds fans that “today’s game is brought to you by” brand X.
The goal is to eliminate interruptions of the content viewers are tuned in for, and instead incorporate that advertising into the broadcast in different ways. That was what ESPN was doing during a recent Monday Night Football game that included a Playstation Vue multi-view. Fans saw three different angles of the action, while the screen was bordered with a bright blue Playstation Vue logo.
Amanda Herald, who serves as the NFL’s VP of media strategy and business development, told Variety “Small changes in how ads are executed can really add up to how fans perceive games.” It is part of the league’s efforts to attract younger fans. Older fans may be used to having their content interrupted for minutes at a time by people shouting “Dilly Dilly!” but younger generations, raised on streaming and DVRs are used to being able to fast forward through advertising. Integrating ads into content would give them a viewing experience they are more accustomed to.
Some networks are on board with the new strategy. Fox has eliminated billboards from its Thursday Night Football coverage. ESPN offers a commercial-free halftime show for Monday Night Football, which still features frequent reminders from Suzy Kolber that the segment is sponsored by Hyundai Genesis.
Other broadcasts aren’t interested in losing billboard advertising. Fox still uses that strategy during Sunday games. CBS is unapologetically refusing to change their strategy. “We will continue to give people billboards. They are a solid value, and advertisers like them,” VP of NFL Sales for CBS Anthony Taranto said when asked. CBS’s broadcasts of both the NFL and college football are often criticized as stopping the action too often to make way for advertising.
Advertising is a nearly $4.5 billion per year business for the NFL and it’s broadcasting partners, so any changes in league policy will be met with trepidation or even concern. Billboard ads, in particular, are used as added value, a bonus for networks’ top clients. Some networks may be interested in trying new means of advertising that doesn’t interrupt the action in any way, but until the NFL says they are absolutely banned, billboard ads aren’t going extinct any time soon.
Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football
“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years.
Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.
“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.
“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.