College Football Playoff 2016

Media Buying in Cable TV’s Highest Rated Broadcast: The College Football Playoff 

On Monday night, #1 ranked Clemson will face #2 Alabama in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, only the second of its kind in the history of the sport. With the 2015 game being second in terms of audience size behind the Super Bowl, this year’s game is shaping up to be the biggest yet, not only for these two schools and their fans, but for ESPN and advertisers buying space in the program.


Started in 2014, the College Football Playoff (CFP) was designed to preserve the excitement and significance of college football’s unique regular season where every game counts. Two semifinal games occur on New Year’s Eve, while two teams go on to compete for the National Title on a Monday night in a different city every year.

You’re probably most familiar with Dr. Pepper as one of the national sponsors of the CFP, but other sponsors like Allstate, Capital One, Gatorade, Northwestern Mutual, and Taco Bell also contribute to some of the biggest advertising in the time leading up to the big game.

Larry Culpepper, Dr. Pepper character, refers to the CFP as the “best tradition in college football” as he looks to seek support from viewers to be the one presenting the trophy. Taco Bell’s sponsorship is highly popular among college students who check their ticket accounts for free tickets in the Live Más Student Section.

For those not necessarily eligible for academic or athletic scholarships, Taco Bell has also been advertising its first Live Más Scholarship for students interested in pursuing their unique passions and dreams. You’ve gotta check out this ad. Seriously – watch it and feel the feels.

Taco Bell Dr Pepper

Dr. Pepper and Taco Bell Sponsorships for the CFP

Advertising and viewership in the 2015 college football playoff

After investing $7.3 billion in a 2012 deal, ESPN’s VP of Communications, Mike Soltys stated that “live sports have become much more valuable in a world where most TV shows are not watched live.” Last year’s total of 33 million viewers provided advertisers with an opportunity to reach those with a love for sports, affinity to brands, and thirst for excitement and competition. In 2015, ESPN charged about $1 million for a 30-second commercial.

Compared to NBC‘s Super Bowl bringing in 111 million viewers and ads costing $4.5 million, the CFP has proven to be ESPN’s highest rated program – their own Super Bowl of sorts. As anticipation continues to grow, ESPN hopes that the CFP will be widely successful year after year, contributing to rising demands and costs for advertising.

expectations for this year’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Estimations for 2016 30-second TV spots range from $1.3 to $1.4 million for a chance to advertise during the big game. Official sponsorships for the CFP cost advertisers between $14 million and $16 million each. Advertisers are fighting for the opportunity to showcase their messages to a growing audience in tonight’s Clemson vs. Alabama matchup.

Viewers of the CFP are lovers of college sports and likely college graduates themselves, so advertisers are able to reach an audience with higher education levels and incomes, even more so than viewers of the NFL’s Super Bowl.

While viewership of the semifinal games was lower than expected this year, partly due to the fact that New Year’s Eve coverage conflicted with other holiday broadcasts, spots in the CFP National Championship are still prime real estate for companies. If viewership for the big game is lower than expected, ESPN will most likely offer additional “make good” spots to brands to ensure they receive the value for which they paid.

WILL YOU BE TUNING IN to the 2016 cFP?

Will you be one of the likely 33 million viewers watching the championship game tonight? Personally, I’ll be cheering for my Alabama Crimson Tide, but I’m excited to see all of the sponsored spots throughout the game with unique messaging related to college football. Here’s to a big game, big advertising, and as always, Roll Tide!

Nick Saban National Championship



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