Advertising During Sunday Night Football is Becoming More Popular

By Madison Taylor
December 7, 2023
Football field from overhead

For the right business, advertising during a football game can lead to a massive boost. After all, football games offer easy access to an array of critical demographics interested in your product or service. An ad during Sunday Night Football is a particular ad time that is increasing in popularity and offering businesses that can afford it a chance to better connect with customers.

We examine why advertising during Sunday Night Football has risen in popularity and what this means for your business’ advertising efforts.

The Rising Popularity of Sunday Night Football

Sunday night football ads are becoming increasingly popular, even within the highly lucrative world of football advertisements. Sunday Night Football holds a monopoly in the football world, as this brand is the only football game occurring at that time. As a result, football fans who want to watch NFL football at that time slot have only one option. 

Even among costly NFL advertising, Sunday Night Football ads are expensive, beating standard ESPN advertising rates. If you are wondering how much an NFL commercial costs, get ready to wince: According to Ad Age, a Sunday Night Football ad costs an average of $828,501 for a thirty-second spot, making it among the most expensive thirty seconds on broadcast TV. 

There are many reasons why these ad spots continue to gain popularity. First and foremost, the NFL remains a popular and lucrative brand, with various trends — including social media, a continuing Hollywood strike, and increased avenues for sports consumption — pushing more users to watch the NFL. Ratings are up, and with it, so is the marketing power of Sunday Night ads. 

Plus, the power of the NFL brand has now extended well beyond football itself. Popular sports-related platforms, such as ManningCast, and increasing intersections between the NFL and other forms of popular culture (for example, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship) continue to draw in new audiences and create additional advertising and marketing opportunities. 

Lessons Learned from NFL Advertising

The power of sports branding has always had significant lessons for businesses – even those who cannot afford the nearly $1 million investment in sports advertisements. As such, there are a few lessons you can learn from the continuing popularity of Sunday Night Football.

First, sports are popular, and your market may have local opportunities. Are there local games, like high school or college, that offer you a similar advertising opportunity at an affordable price? Sports remain extremely popular and generate captive audiences. Furthermore, the live nature of sports events often precludes other forms of media consumption that result in commercials being skipped. As such, you may be dealing with a captive audience with little choice but to watch your advertisements.

The effectiveness of sports marketing is also driven by the fact that it’s not just people watching on television anymore. Phones, tablets, and internet access have increased how people watch Sunday Night Football. This, in turn, is increasing the advertising opportunities for businesses. Has your business examined advertisements on these alternative platforms? Do you have access to marketing expertise to ensure you can adequately connect with your customer base? 

Of course, as with any marketing, planning is critical to any advertising effort. NFL networks typically sell out of advertising months or weeks before a game, meaning businesses with a last-second addition may be out of luck. While local sports events are less popular, early investment often means reduced rates and a bigger bang for your advertising buck. Developing a marketing plan that fits your business needs usually means having a robust data collection method, a solid idea of the products and services you want to sell, and an in-depth knowledge of your customers. 

Finally, remember that other options are always available. Investing in Sunday Night Football is out of reach for most businesses, but that’s not to say that other options for TV advertising are. Even if an investment in a TV commercial isn’t right for you, sponsorship or advertising opportunities locally can serve your needs and bring in more customers.

Final Thoughts

Advertising during Sunday Night Football is increasingly popular due to factors like the NFL’s enduring appeal and expansion into popular culture. Although it comes with a high price tag, the captive audience and live nature of sports events offer valuable lessons for businesses. Diversifying advertising platforms, early planning, and exploring local opportunities can provide cost-effective alternatives. Businesses should adapt their strategies to connect with their audience effectively in a landscape where powerful NFL commercials predominate, taking into account their unique resources and needs.