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Sports & Entertainment: Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise in the Face of Digital Advertising Uncertainty

Thomas Paulson
Dec 2, 2022
Sports & Entertainment: Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise in the Face of Digital Advertising Uncertainty

Given the tumultuous news the past few weeks regarding social media, it’s no wonder that some of the biggest global advertising agencies are taking a pause on digital advertising.  However, in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity, and what may be doom and gloom for digital advertising might end up proving beneficial to live events and experiential marketing.

We know that some of the biggest players in sports and entertainment encountered an immediate hit once COVID took a toll as musicians had to cancel tours and settle for Zoom concerts, and once-packed arenas became ghost towns.  But the desire to gather manifested itself in creative executions, such as drive-in movies and drive-in concerts.  In the over two years since, we’ve seen stadium attendance rise as restrictions loosened, resulting in audiences packing the most recent Super Bowl and other live sports events.

Visits to 132 stadiums/arenas/fields tracked by indicate that foot traffic is up YoY.  The delta is greatest when comparing 4Q21 to 4Q20.  While we’ve seen visitation to various discretionary categories decline starting around June 2022, it appears that Americans still think that tickets to sporting events and other live events are worth it (a theme we have touched upon this year), and they have yet to dip below last year’s hot summer vax elation, when people come out in throngs to travel and party.

In fact, visitation to these sports stadiums in aggregate in October 2022 even surpassed pre-COVID levels, indicating that appetite for these live sports events has returned with gusto.

Since it’s the fall, we looked at some of the most visited NFL Stadiums in the country to see what is transpiring.  Pro football visitation at these locales is still holding steady from last year as of October.

Let's look at the granddaddy of all sporting events: Super Bowl Sunday. In 2019, it took place on Feb 3 at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta with an East/West showdown of the New England Patriots versus the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams got their redemption in 2022, when after leading 13-10 at halftime they found themselves down 20-16 in the fourth. The Rams scored an exciting touchdown to retake the lead with under two minutes remaining, resulting in a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on home turf at SoFi Stadium on Feb 13.  What a fitting love letter to the city of Angels!

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Thomas Paulson

Director of Research and Business Development,

Thomas Paulson spent 20 years as a Wall Street analyst and a member of asset management teams at AllianceBernstein and Cornerstone Capital, representing top-50 ownership positions including Target, Home Depot, Nike, Amazon, Google, and many more. He brings consumer related expertise and knowledge of enterprises in retail, CPG, financial services, telecom, and entertainment.

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