NFL TV advertising haul will keep rising despite headwinds, Kantar projects

by Dade Hayes, FierceCable

The NFL will continue to see healthy ad revenues despite some obstacles in its path, Kantar Media predicts.

As the NFL season gets set to kick off, Kantar Media Chief Research Officer Jon Swallen is expecting another banner year in terms of TV ad revenue despite last year's ratings declines in prime time and lingering concerns about everything from oversaturation to player conduct and concussions.

Last year, ratings dipped significantly in prime time, though the late-afternoon games on Sundays managed single-digit increases over 2015 levels. "Even with that ratings correction, it’s one of the largest and most reliable pieces of programming out there, so I expect that NFL revenue will increase," Swallen told FierceBroadcasting.

According to Kantar, total media spending on the NFL reached $4.22 billion in 2016, up 22% from $3.45 billion in 2014. Swallen declined to project an exact number for 2017, but said the pattern for the league is falling in line with the upfront ad market for broadcast networks, which has shown increases despite overall ratings erosion.

That disconnect is “part of the perversity of broadcast television,” he said. “People wonder, if ratings are getting smaller, how can ad revenues rise? It seems illogical. But the fact is that audiences are shrinking across the board. So advertisers are attracted to the NFL because of its consistency." The male skew, with regular season games drawing an audience that is 60% male, also offers a predictable platform.

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