Super Bowl Ad Preview: Verizon Tops Wireless Brands for NFL Ad Spend Leading Up to the Big Game

AT&T leads industry in average view rate
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B&C has partnered with TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv and its Super Bowl Ad Center to give you in-depth context and analysis during the run-up to game day. Monday, we took a look at the automotive brands that spent the most on TV advertising during NFL games leading up to the Super Bowl. Tuesday, we’re focusing on wireless providers, which as a category had a year-over-year TV ad spending increase during NFL games/programming of just over 27%.

Of the nine wireless providers that ran commercials during the 2016-17 NFL season, Verizon was dominant in terms of spend, accounting for an estimated $185.4 million, or 54.8%, of the wireless industry’s entire NFL TV ad outlay. They were also the most-seen wireless brand during NFL programming, accounting for nearly 3.5 billion of the industry’s 5.9 billion TV ad impressions.

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T-Mobile had the second-highest NFL ad exposure in the wireless industry, with 847 million TV ad impressions. AT&T was next with 612.5 million, followed by Sprint (535 million) and Straight Talk Wireless (250.5 million). The second through fifth positions represented a shift vs. the 2015 season, with Sprint and AT&T at, respectively, No. 2 and No. 3 last year, followed by T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless (owned by AT&T) at No. 4 and No. 5. AT&T’s divergence of ad spend toward DirecTV in 2016 plus Sprint’s scaling back on NFL ads contributed significantly to this year’s industry changes.

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AT&T actually led the industry in terms of average view rate (AVR is the percentage of an ad that is watched across all view of that ad) at 89.81%, followed by Cricket at 86.46%. Though Verizon was the largest advertiser in terms of dollars and impressions, its NFL ads received an AVR of 79.42%, which was fourth overall. Straight Talk was third at 81.69%.

Another note about Verizon: Its year-over-year spending increase of nearly 40% was a big part of the wireless provider's overall rise as backers of NFL programming. Verizon spent four times as much as its nearest competitor, AT&T.

Check back Wednesday for another Super Bowl Ad Preview post, with more insight on the NFL’s biggest brand backers leading up to the big game.

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