Your client at an Arena Football game
Advertisers can score a touchdown with this sports option
November 26, 2012
The younger, mostly male audiences at professional sporting events are an attractive crowd for advertisers, but pro sports can be an expensive buy.
One relatively inexpensive option beyond the top-tier professional leagues is the Arena Football League, which is preparing for its 26th season.
Advertisers and sponsors reach not only young men but also, because games are less expensive to attend than most pro sports events, families looking for cheap entertainment as well.
Advertisers can also get more creative at AFL games than they can at other leagues such as the NFL.
To find out how to get your client at AFL games, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising and sponsorship at Arena Football League games.
The AFL handles league-wide advertising and sponsorship, and individual teams handle some promotions.
How it works
Arena Football League games are played on 50-yard fields surrounded by padded dasher boards that look similar to those used in hockey. There are nets placed at each end of the field that are used to shield the onlookers from errant kickoffs and missed field goals.
The season runs the bulk of the NFL offseason, with the upcoming season running from March to Aug. 17, the date of the season-ending ArenaBowl championship game.
There are a number of advertising options on and around the playing field, including ads on the boards, 6-by-9-foot turf squares on the field itself, and ads on the nets at each end of the field.
Brands can also place patches on player uniforms, decals on helmets, graphics on game balls, or ads on first down markers.
Other options available in the arena are similar to those seen in other sports, such as signage, static and video ads on the scoreboard, on-field promotions during timeouts and stoppages in play, and concourse booths that can be used for sampling and fan interaction.
The AFL offers title and presenting sponsorships as well.
For example, for the upcoming season the league has a title sponsor (NET10 Wireless), but it's still looking for a title sponsor for ArenaBowl XXVI.
On-field advertisers get additional exposure on television. For the 2013 season the AFL recently signed a deal with CBS Sports for one game to air weekly on CBS Sports Network on Saturday nights and for the league title game to air on CBS.
Games are also televised locally in teams' markets, giving on-field advertisers extra eyeballs.
For the coming season there are AFL teams in Chicago, Cleveland, Des Moines, Orlando, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Spokane, Wash.
During the 2012 season, AFL teams averaged 7,841 fans per game. Orlando had the highest average attendance with just over 12,600 per game, while Jacksonville and San Jose also each averaged more than 10,000 fans per game.
For the 2013 season the AFL projects total attendance of 1.5 million, as well as 8 million national TV viewers and 2.8 million local TV viewers.
How it is measured
Game attendance is tracked and TV ratings are also used to measure impressions.
What product categories work well
Recent or current AFL advertisers and sponsors include telecom, restaurants, insurance, athletic equipment and apparel, hotels, soft drinks and beer.
Arena Football League fans are 72 percent male and 28 percent female, according to Scarborough Research.
Sixty-two percent of fans are ages 18-49 and 33 percent are 18-34.
Forty-six percent of fans have an annual household income below $50,000, with 33 percent between $50,000 and $100,000, and 21 percent above $100,000. The mean household income of AFL fans is just over $72,000.
Making the buy
The AFL aims to have sponsorship advertising deals in place well before the season starts, but it can work with brands later than that provided inventory is available.
Pricing varies, ranging from about $50,000 for an entry-level deal to seven figures for league title sponsorship. Most campaigns that include advertising/sponsorship at games and a presence on TV and online cost six figures.
Who's already been at AFL games
Current or recent brands that have advertised on arena football games include NET10 Wireless, Russell Athletic, National Guard, Allstate, Dominos Pizza, Gameworks, Pepsi, Spalding, Hampton Inn and Bud Light.
What they're saying
"We have more latitude than the NFL, nothing is outside the box. We have jersey patches, helmet stickers, first down markers, the red zone can be sponsored–we've been open to campaigns that other leagues might not do. Our ability to activate outside-of-the-box promotional campaigns allows advertisers to creatively target their audience." — Adam Robbins, senior vice president of corporate partnerships at the Arena Football League
Web site info
Arena Football League
New Orleans VooDoo
Tags: Adam Robbins, ads, advertisers, advertising, afl, afl advertising, afl cbs, Arena Football, arena football league, cbs afl, ooh advertising, out of home, out of home advertising, senior vice president, sports, sports advertising, tv
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