MBPT Spotlight: February Comes In Like a Lion For FoxSports.com

Now more than 50% sold out for its live streamed Super Bowl, site eyes other big gains

Marketers shut out of Fox’s Feb. 2 TV telecast of upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII can still buy ad units in the FoxSports.com live streaming of the game.

In fact, February offers a veritable cornucopia of high-profile ad possibilities on FoxSports.com, from the site’s extensive Super Bowl coverage, to its Winter Olympics reports and Daytona 500 coverage.

True, FoxSports.com doesn’t have Olympics media rights, but it is planning to offer extensive video shoulder programming and print content for sponsors during the games in Sochi, Russia (Feb. 7-23), much like it did during the 2012 Summer Games from London. And for the first time, FoxSports.com will live stream the entire Daytona 500 on Feb.23.

Marla Newman, senior VP, ad sales for FoxSports.com says February could be one of the largest ad revenue months ever for FoxSports.com and it will be an opportunity for advertisers to reach a sizable chunk of audience.

Newman says commercial time in the live streaming Super Bowl game is more than 50% sold, and while she says she cannot name advertisers without marketer permission, she says about 30% of the advertisers in the Fox Super Bowl game telecast have also bought in to the streaming game online.

Major categories, she said, are also similar to the TV telecast—auto, mobile phones, insurance and consumer packaged goods.

Newman says it’s an opportunity for some advertisers to supplement their TV exposure during the game, and for others, it’s a chance to advertise in a live Super Bowl event at a cost much less than $4 million per 30-second spot that Fox is charging for its in-game TV commercials.

Third Time a Charm?
NBC in 2012 was the first broadcast network to stream the Super Bowl live on its website and it drew 2.1 million unique viewers and 4.6 million live video streams during Super Bowl XLVI. CBS for Super Bowl XLVII drew 3 million unique viewers and almost 10 million live video streams. Newman believes that number is going to rise significantly for Super Bowl XLVIII.

FoxSports.com is not guaranteeing any type of ratings, and marketers can buy units just in the game or ad packages or sponsorships of content that will begin about a week prior to the game.

In addition to in-depth print content, FoxSports.com is creating and selling customized sponsorships for video content and online shows that will be streamed during the week leading up to the game.

Flagging Down Pereira will follow Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira as he partakes in several Super Bowl events, including media day and the beach bowl. He will keep a video diary to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at Super Bowl week in the New York/New Jersey area.

I Heart NY will run daily and spotlight Fox Sports talent with New York ties taking fans to favorite hangouts in the city. FoxSports.com will also offer the Radio Row Video show: During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, local radio stations from around the country set up booths to interview athletes and celebrities on the air live. FoxSports.com will have a booth and participate there and sell a sponsorship that includes on-site branding, pre-roll commercials, branded graphics and ownership of a branded events page.

For the Olympics, FoxSports.com will offer a nightly “Roundtable Video Series,” where FoxSports.Com talent and former Olympic athletes will recap and debate the day’s action. Another feature will be the Inside Edge video show, where former Olympians will offer insights into the sports they participated in during the Olympics. Inside Edge will also preview and recap the day’s events throughout the games.

For Inside Edge, FoxSports.com has lined up four former Olympians: figure skater Michelle Kwan, skier Picabo Street, snowboarder Andy Finch and hockey player Chris Chelios.

Each of those two shows will have a sponsor and will get to run pre-roll commercials as well as having integrated, on-screen signage.

FoxSports.com’s Summer Olympic site in 2012 drew 9 million unique viewers during the two weeks of the Games. While that’s just one-third of NBCSports.com’s 28 million uniques, Newman says there are no restrictions on FoxSports.com as far as creating customized sponsorships like there are on official Olympics rights sites and for official Olympics sponsors.

“We can do all kinds of customizations for marketers with our Olympic site,” Newman says. “It’s harder for the official TV rights networks to do that.”

FoxSports 1, the new Fox all-sports cable network, will also be airing some Olympics shoulder programming and Newman says FoxSports.com is also selling advertising and packages in conjunction with that.

Starting Their Engines
The last event in the Fox Sports February trio will be the Daytona 500, airing Feb. 23, the same day as the closing ceremonies for the Olympics.

In addition to the live streaming of the race, FoxSports.com will also offer some features that advertisers can sponsor. One of them will be the Shake & Bake Blog, with stories and video covering the atmosphere during the speed week leading up to the race, where fans can get news and other content about the race, the participants and NASCAR. Sponsorships will be sold for this as well.

Advertisers will also be able to be part of a Twitter opportunity via @NASCARONFOX. An advertiser can buy a customized package that will incorporate their brand into the messages and give them the opportunity to place pre-roll ads in front of video.

FoxSports.com will also be doing real-time polling in conjunction with Fox’s telecast of the Daytona 500 and the results will be shown live both on television and online.