Live sports showcase linear TV’s ability to deliver mass awareness for brands, making their absence during the past few months of the coronavirus pandemic even more dramatic for advertisers. With the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball resuming play this month, sports marketing is poised for a comeback.
Frank Wall, senior vice president of Turner Sports at WarnerMedia, has been keeping a close eye on these developments and the possibilities for advertisers to participate in live broadcasts of games on channels including TBS, TNT and NBA TV. Turner Sports also oversees digital properties including Bleacher Report and NBA.com.
“With no fans in stadiums, that could create an interesting opportunity in terms of what we do on screen,” Wall said in this episode of Beet TV’s “Trust in Partnership in a Time of Change” series presented by WarnerMedia and Xandr. “With the use of technology, we can do some entertaining things with our telecasts.”
The resumption of sports comes after several months of revamping its programming to appeal to fans who have hungered for fresh programming. With people showing their enthusiasm on social media with #NBATogether hashtag, Turner developed programming that included memorable games from yesteryear to maintain fan interest during lockdowns.
“A lot of fans have been able to get through this because they’ve been able to watch some classic games of their favorite teams throughout basketball history,” Wall said.
The return of live sports will be pivotal for broadcasters and sponsors who want to reach a broad audience that defies categorization
Sports programming “is such a powerful platform in terms of its ability to bring together all different kinds of people … in the thrill of victory and the anguish of defeat,” Wall said. “For a lot of people, that is galvanizing. Sports is that great neutralizer for society.”
The National Football League is planning to start its regular season on Sept. 10, while Major League Baseball announced Opening Day will be on July 23, followed by a shortened season. The league last month was said to reach a $3.5 billion deal with Turner Sports for the rights to air playoff games for the 2022-28 seasons.
This video is part of a series titled Trust in Partnership in a Time of Change presented by WarnerMedia. Please visit this page for more of this series.