The 2016 Fall Classic features the clash of two teams with a combined 178 years of championship drought. The Cubs’ misery has been parodied for decades, thanks to its longevity and colorful stories such as the Curse of the Billy Goat.
This historic event is good news for advertisers. Viewership numbers for baseball and the World Series have been steadily declining for decades, bottoming out in 2012. Every year networks and advertisers alike hope for a longer series, both to increase advertising opportunities and to capitalize on increased viewers in later games. Last year’s series played 5 of possible 7 games. This resulted in an estimated $115.8 million in lost potential advertising earnings. If this series makes it to game 7, viewers are expected to reach as high as 27 million. This only amounts to the level of a popular Sunday afternoon NFL game, but it’s still positive news for the sport.
While the first two games have seen strong showings, they aren’t breaking records just yet. This year’s game 1 was the most watched series opener in 7 years, and third most watched in the last 20. With an average of 100 commercial spots per regulation length game, costing around $565,000 per 30 seconds, Fox is still garnering significant revenue.
To further increase revenue, Fox and the MLB are trying something new this year. With green screens behind home plate, virtual ads are being varied by broadcast location. This feature, so far unique to baseball, was first used at the 2016 all-star game. Using modern technology, advertisers can now be on one of the country’s biggest broadcasts, with an added measure of geographic targeting. While it is commonplace for area specific ads to run during commercial breaks based on broadcast location, this new feature allows a new, highly targeted touch point for advertisers. Fox benefits from effectively multiplying their ad inventory by the number of different broadcast markets. Additionally, advertisers win by gaining access to a larger number of placements, at a lower cost than a national flight.
Now let’s have a good game out there. Go Cubs.