The NFL season kicks off Thursday night and is bringing strong advertising rates for its broadcast and streaming partners.
The Players: NBC, a Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) company, will air Sunday Night Football games and also has the rights to the Sept. 10 NFL Kickoff game.
Fox, a 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) unit, will air some Thursday Night Football games and has rights to NFC home games on Sundays.
Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) has streaming rights to many of the Thursday Night Football games.
CBS, a unit of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAC), will air AFC home games on Sundays.
ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), will air Monday Night Football games.
YouTube TV, a unit of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), signed a partnership with the NFL to include the NFL Network in the YouTube TV base membership and NFL RedZone in a new sports add-on package.
The Advertising Market: Advertising sales for the 2020-21 NFL season are expected to reach $3.7 billion.
With 41% of FBS schools sitting out the college season, there could also be more advertisers switching to NFL games.
Last year, NBC got up to $750,000 per 30-second ad during the fall and around $619,000 in the upfront markets for its games. NBC reported $762 million in ad sales from 19 prime time games last season.
The overall average for NFL games last season was $424,000 for a 30-second ad.
The advertising market for games is strong and seeing many returning players and some new companies as well.
FAANG companies are reportedly spending more on ads, making up for a potential loss from movie studios. Political ads are also expected to be a big player during the start of the NFL season.
The NFL Kickoff Game is sold out of ad space, thanks to strong interest from pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
Live sports that aired from July 23 through Aug. 15 saw $100 million in advertising sales from over 500 companies. The Joe Biden campaign was a new advertiser during this period.
This season's Super Bowl will be aired on CBS, which is seeking $5.5 million for 30-second commercials, in line with what Fox received last season.
Last Year’s Viewership: NFL’s strong viewership makes it an advertising magnet. Last year, 47 of the top 50 programs and 73 of the top 100 on broadcast television were NFL games.
Last year’s NFL season saw viewership increase 5% and was the most-watched season in three years.
Games airing on Sunday afternoons averaged 24.3 million viewers for Fox and CBS. NBC’s prime time games saw an average of 20 million viewers.
The 79 scripted shows airing on the Big Four broadcast networks averaged 4.55 million during the 2019-20 season.
Last year’s kickoff game had 22.1 million viewers and was the third highest-rated primetime game of the season. The Super Bowl last year had 102 million average viewers.