Sports Ad Budgets Won’t Be Spent Till 3Q: Survey

Advertisers don’t think they’ll be spending their sports sponsorship ad dollars until at least the third quarter, according to a new study by the IAB.

The new IAB study is a follow up to a survey taken a month ago, closer to when the coronavirus forced live sports off the air and pushed viewers to work from home.

The latest survey found that only 3% of the media buyers and brand executives surveyed expect to spend their sports dollars in the second quarter, with 23% expecting a return to sports in the third quarter and 33% in the fourth quarter. There were 13% who said spending wouldn’t resume until the fourth quarter.

Those advertisers said they allocated about 25% of their ad budget to sports. About half of that spending will get reallocated to other genres and 43% will go unspent, with 24% going into sports in 2021 and 11% shifted to eSports.

In the original study, 46% of those surveyed in March said they’d adjusted their ad spend because of the virus. In the April study, 45% said they’d made an adjustment.

The percentage of buyers and brands saying they paused their advertising increased to 37% from 24% in March. Most of those execs who said they were pausing their ad spending were previously in the “still to be determined” category a month ago which accounted for 16% in the earlier survey and dropped to 3% in the April study.

Those surveyed estimated that they cut their spending on digital media by 29%, compared to saying they’d made 33% cuts a month ago.

They said they cut traditional media by 44%, a larger slice than 39% in March. Linear TV fared better in the more recent study, with 37% budget cuts in March looking more like 35% in April.

Advertisers said they are increasingly using national geo targeting and local geo targeting. They are also increasing direct buys with publishers versus programmatic buying, the survey found.

In the new survey, 73% of respondents said they are modifying or developing their creative because of the pandemic, with 58% saying their messaging now clearly reflects the crisis. More advertisers said they were doing cause related messages and performance-based creative.

When it comes to where they are advertising, 40% said they were running ads adjacent to the increased amount of news coverage.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.