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State of the Screens

TV Industry Faces Billions in Lost Ad Sales With Sports Hiatus

By March 19, 2020No Comments

Kantar Media estimates that $2B+ in sports ad revenue could be lost due to COVID-19 related cancelations.

The leagues/events impacted include:
March Madness basketball tournament
2) NBA regular season
3) NHL regular season
4) MLB spring training and opening day

Source of NBA TV ad revenue in 2018:
Playoffs – 62%
Regular season – 38%

March Madness accounts for 80% of the NCAA’s annual revenue, including ≈ $800M in TV rights fees generated from CBS and Turner.

March Madness ad revenue for CBS/Turner:
2019 – $910M
2020P – $1B+

The big question: If the Olympics are canceled, what happens to the $1.25B+ in ads that NBCUniversal has already sold?

Mr. Screens’ idea:  ESPN is set to release a 10-part miniseries about the 1998 Chicago Bulls in June.  They need content to fill the void left by sports cancelations, and we need something to watch besides the Contagion movie (see below).  Why wouldn’t they move this up ASAP?

More #1: Sports TV Networks Take a Hit as Major Leagues Suspend Operations Over Coronavirus

More #2: NCAA built tournament safety net of nearly $400 million and then spent it

More #3: ESPN scrambling to figure out programming while live sports shut down indefinitely

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.