The Popularity of College Sports & How Advertisers Can Take Advantage

It’s no secret that college sports cultivate some of the most passionate fan bases in the world.  With huge audiences of diverse, affluent, and well-educated consumers, college sports fans have become a darling of the advertising industry.  But what are these advertisers doing?


College Sports Popularity

The National Football Foundation recently released its 2016 study on the popularity of college football.  The report illustrated just how passionate and dedicated fan bases continue to be for schools across the country.  A few notable takeaways for advertisers include:

  • More than 49 million fans attended a college football game this season
  • The streaming audience continues to grow with ESPN seeing college football games streamed on over 15 million unique devices during the 2016 season
  • Fox Sports had its most watched college football season in 2016
  • More than 179 million fans viewed over 100 billion minutes of college football this season on ESPN’s family of networks

SOURCE: 2016 National Football Foundation study.  VIEW FULL REPORT HERE→

While football is obviously the most popular of the college sports, many others have gained traction in recent years.  Beginning in 2006, conferences started to develop their own television and digital networks to distribute and promote their college sports content.  Now, on any given night, you could turn on the television and find college basketball, gymnastics, soccer, hockey, or any number of other sports.  All this exposure has helped teams not only with recruiting but also in growing and strengthening their fan bases.


How can Advertisers Take Advantage of the Popularity of College Sports?

As we stated before, college sports offers advertisers access to large groups of passionate, educated, and affluent consumers.  It’s a group that is just too good to pass up. That’s why we’re seeing more and more advertisers developing campaigns around college sports and using officially licensed college sports footage and images.  Consumers are able to connect with the authenticity and excitement of real sporting events in a way that generic stock sports footage cannot deliver.

Let’s take a look at a few recent examples:

1) Coca-Cola®

Coca-Cola® recently aired a national commercial in conjunction with the NASCAR™ Daytona 500 and NCAA March Madness™.  This ad is particularly effective because it taps into not one, but two, passionate groups of fans. It uses officially licensed NCAA basketball footage while capturing the overwhelming popularity of both NASCAR™ and its drivers. WATCH THE AD→

2) United States Air Force

Using sports footage isn’t the only way to leverage the passion of college fan bases.  Sometimes all you need to show is the logo in order to connect with fans.  That’s exactly what the United States Air Force did in their “Alma Mater” recruiting commercial. They partnered with a company that specializes in college sports trademark clearance services to officially license the use of the college logos.  WATCH THE AD→

3) Goodyear

In conjunction with the 2015 college football season, Goodyear ran its “Traditions” campaign celebrating the excitement and passion in college football over the last 60 years. The :30 spot called “Fans of Tradition” features both modern and historic footage that capture the pageantry in college football.  The ad ties the iconic Goodyear brand with the rich tradition of college football.  WATCH THE AD→

Are you looking to leverage the power of college sports in your next advertising campaign? Let the college sports licensing experts at XOS help you find and license the perfect footage, images, or trademarks.