ESPN to Track Product Placements

TV sports superpower ESPN has signed up for Nielsen Media Research's new Sponsorship Scorecard service to track sports product placements.

Scorecard, which launched in July 2004, helps gauge advertisers' return on investment by tracking the number of exposures of virtual signage--behind home plate for example--or sponsored half-time contests.

Nielsen last month announced that the PGA tour had signed on as a client to track all those hats and shirts (think Phil Mickelson and that blue Ford logo) and leaderboard shots.

Other clients include pro teams, advertisers, and other cable networks, though Nielsen is keeping those close to the vest. The company is in talks with arguably the signage champs, NASCAR, to track its 200-mile-per-hour plugs.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.