Reading Time: 2 minutes
Businessmen Shaking Hands

Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be …my neighbor? For those reading this under the age of 40, that was a verse in the opening scene of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  Google it and watch the (:60) video after you read this blog about Partnerships.

A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments, etc.

As an adult you are reading this and reflecting on partnerships you have with friends, spouses, co-workers, clients, associates, club members, etc.….

The beautiful thing about partnerships is we all began to learn about them when we were born. The first partnerships we had was with our mom / caregivers and ourselves. The relationship was created so we can both excel and have the satisfaction of being together. It then evolved into crawling on the floor with play dates or siblings and learning to share and partner so both parties can benefit from the relationship.

Let’s fast forward to those of us reading this today. You are reading this on a blog in a social media channel that you are a member of to form partnerships.

There are some key components that are essential for a good partnership. First there should be an understanding how each party can benefit from being partners, so they have the chance to make 1 + 1 = 3. 

Key components to partnerships are CCA – cooperation, collaboration, and alliance. In a partnership you are working together because two sides have something different to give with the goal that they will build something better than they could have done alone. 1+1=3 (Not 2). (If you are an in-house agency, you are just 1)

Why am I writing about Partnerships? I am a new employee of A3 Media. I am here for one reason; A3 Media was my client for 20 years while I was at Comcast. Over those 20 years, even though I was a seller, and they were a buyer, there was one goal, do what’s right for the client and we together as partners will grow the business for Comcast (1) + Agency (1) = Client (that’s 3).

Being a good partner is like being a good neighbor. Be kind, be respectful, be courteous, cooperate, collaborate, and align for a common cause.

Reach out to us we would love the chance to be your Neighbor and Partner.

Written by:
Harvey Shapiro
Director of Retail Relationships

Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online advertising. Targeting tactics are used to segment audiences using data so that advertisers only pay for ads delivered to the right people at the right time…”

The method of programmatic advertising is an auction system that puts advertisers together with online and/or mobile properties with available ad space. The method allows the highest bidder to A) target their ad to be viewed by different demographic & psychographic potential customers on websites and applications those consumers visit. B) It also allows the ad to go out in real time and limit the cost of the ad placement to just a fractional amount greater than the second-place bidder, the purpose of which is intended to minimize the cost per ad placed.

This method of buying and selling ads has worked out for some and probably not as well for others. On average, click-through-rates for Facebook ads across all industries is 0.90% and runs about 0.46% for Google display ads. Facebook and Google are making money selling ad space with the programmatic platform. Sadly, for many advertisers, just because an ad ran, and they paid for it, does not necessarily mean it was viewed.

Many folks saw the profitability and ease of buying and selling ads in the digital world and decided… “Hey, if it works for them, why not for us!”. So, they got cozy with people in the OOH industry who on average have as much as 30+% of the 340,817 billboards and posters in the U.S. unsold during any given month. That’s 102,245 potential units that could be sold, but often end up becoming added value or public service announcements, neither of which are generating revenue.

Those folks and a few of the top executes at the big billboard companies said, “well you can’t skip a billboard like you can a digital ad, maybe we should try selling this unsold inventory as the digital ads do, programmatically!” Lightbulb!

So, in 2012 Broadsign established the first programmatic OOH exchange and called it Vistar, based out of Canada, which had access to about 90% of the United States digital OOH inventory. Today there are all kinds of companies offering programmatic buying of OOH and digital location-based advertising inventory through self-serve platforms.

So, here’s the rub… This method seems to be a logical way to sell unsold inventory for OOH companies. Digital boards that have an open week here or there can be sold at the last minute instead of being left unsold, so the OOH companies are able to get something for the space. As they say, something is better than nothing.

There are three inherent problems associated with programmatic buying of OOH, and they are related to TIME, QUALITY, & MONEY:
  • TIME – One key benefit to using a programmatic platform is supposed to be the time the buyer will save in having to source RFP’s, dig through options and select and negotiate the best group of locations. Now a buyer must learn a new ordering platform, but once learned, the process might be faster by as much as 2-3 days. That could be significant savings depending on the size of the agency. The agency might save a few dollars in labor, but will this savings be passed onto the client?  The price determined through the bidding must still be agreed to by the OOH company, which means they still set the price at a level they are comfortable accepting. It’s possible the price might have been lower had the agency just bought the property through the OOH company directly bypassing the programmatic method and costs. The agency must still pay the price the OOH company will charge for the units, but now the agency must figure out how to offset the additional expense of the programmatic platform’s commission or decide to just add it to the client’s final cost. I suggest the cost savings to the agency will ultimately end up in the pocket of the agency and result in the client paying the same or higher pricing for less than prime OOH inventory. In this case programmatic buying won’t benefit the client.   
  • QUALITY – There is a reason that some billboards and transit locations are sold all the time and a reason the bottom 30% remain unsold. Its because the advertiser, either through an agency or through an in-house buyer has sourced the best options that fit its targeted demos for OOH & transit options and has bought those locations and units first. Typically, the first sold are the best options and selections. That means the rest of the inventory available to be sold programmatically are likely not the highest quality options to select from. If a buy is made through the programmatic exchange, the units must be available, and if available it’s unlikely that the same units would not be available to be purchased directly through that OOH company in the first place.
  • MONEY – As mentioned above in the TIME section, most programmatic buying exchanges, need to make a living too. They must either get those revenue dollars from the agency/via the client or kick back from the OOH companies as a percentage of the sales made through the platform OR BOTH. I do not begrudge any company providing a service or a product the right to make a living. What I believe and what our company does is always look out for the best interest of the client. That means we rarely would use a 3rd party company for any buying activity, unless that cost associated with the 3rd party could be justified and not increase the cost to our client’s bottom line. So far, we have not seen a platform yet in this country or in others, that allows for programmatic buying of OOH and does not also carry the baggage of one or more of the three inherent problems of Programmatic OOH buying.

What I believe and what our company does is always look out for the best interest of the client.

Let me be clear, programmatic OOH buying still has value in some cases. For example. If a client is seeking a GRP buy, or if it is trying to blanket cover an area in a short period of time or at the last minute, then this can be achieved with programmatic OOH campaigns. If an agency is short on actual human buyers and have been tasked with a large amount of buying in a short turnaround time, again this might be a good option. It is certainly a viable option for a very small product or service company that does not have a huge media budget but wants to make buys themselves.

It is certainly a smart move by OOH companies as its gives them another chance to make money on boards that are unsold or are typically hard to sell.

Not all methods of media buying are transferable to all other channels. In the case of programmatic buying of OOH, its important from an ethical perspective that clients are informed before any campaigns are purchased, meaning disclosing the advantages and disadvantages as well as the costs associated with the buying method. 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why do Pilot’s execute a pre-flight take off checklist before every flight when they’ve completed hundreds or thousands of take offs previously? Because checklists are important tools that assist the flight crew in the safe and proper operation of the aircraft. Items can be missed because of distraction or being in a rush. Using the checklist every time helps them eliminate both types of mistakes and may even save lives.  In short, the pilot’s checklist ensures that everything is in order for a smooth and safe flight.  

How can we apply a pilot’s pre-flight checklist to our pre-flight duties on an advertising campaign?

Simple! At A3 we use a checklist for each vendor before each campaign. The checklist is a tool that helps us organize and prioritize our tasks. Like a pilot’s checklist, our checklist has been designed to reduce errors and ensure consistency and completeness of tasks required before the flight even starts. Our checklist doesn’t save lives like a pilot’s might, but it sure makes sure a campaign runs smoother!

In an ideal world, once the contract is signed, we would have plenty of time to complete our pre-flight duties before the flight starts, unfortunately, things aren’t always ideal. There are rush contracts, last minute changes and workload tsunamis that cause errors and impede the completion of our tasks. That’s the best time to use the checklist!

It’s important to use the checklist to ensure that all tasks are completed in order, expectations are set, and communication is in place before the flight starts. The checklist is a great tool for teamwork as well. At any given moment, it helps team members know what steps have been completed and what still needs to be done. This can be a life saver in the event someone has to unexpectedly “step in”.

Our checklist includes simple steps to ensure that everything is in place before the flight. We include the following number of steps, some are obvious, some more obscure, but all the steps collectively are necessary to avoid any in flight turbulence.   

Our steps include simply checking the accuracy of the buy and contract, making sure all the Ts are crossed and Is are dotted and that the information on the contract is accurately entered into our buying and accounting software. This is the time to pay particular attention to any special instructions on the buy. 

We also make sure that we touch base with each and every AE before the buy – yes, every time even if we’ve worked with them dozens of times before. The purpose is to introduce any new members of the team, set expectations and discuss reporting, proof of performance requirements, and invoicing timing and payment processes. Now is the time to get dashboard access, if available.   

Next, we proceed to draft, send, and confirm receipt of all traffic instructions and creative. Then, we request and review the IO to make sure it matches all the specs on the buy. Finally, we reach out on the first day of the campaign to make sure that everything is started and running. We do not want to be surprised by any late starts!

Completion of all these steps will ensure that the campaign starts correctly and that expectations are clearly set reducing miscommunication issues. It will decrease turbulence and surprises and increase the communication between the agency and vendor. Generally, completing all these steps will make managing the campaign in flight much easier. A little pre-work upfront will save you loads of time later and ensure a successful start to the campaign!

Written by:
Jennifer Vanisko
Reconciliation Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Man holding a sneaker in front of camera making a influencer marketing video blog

While the second half of 2021 is up in the air with the recent “Delta Variant” of COVID-19, the first half of the year saw the transition back to what most would consider, normal. Businesses started to open their doors to ½ – full capacity, gyms and movie theaters welcomed customers back, and businesses started to increase their advertising spend. With 2020 seeing a major decline in money spent on media budgets, influencer marketing was initially hit hard in Q1 & Q2 seeing, but saw an uptick in spend in Q3 & Q4 according to influencermarketinghub.com. A quick definition of influencer marketing from an earlier blog on www.a3media.com, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts. This doesn’t immediately raise a red flag that it would be affected, but campaigns that are promoting center events, store openings, vacations, anything related to being there physical in person was affected. What saw great success where industries that focused on home improvement, home fitness, and cooking. With 2021 slowly inching back to pre-COVID days, let’s look to see if influencer marketing followed 2020’s Q3 & Q4 bounce back.

Prior to getting into 2021, lets recap campaigns throughout 2020 influencer marketing across the US. As previously stated, Q1 & Q2 were hit hard. By the end of 2019, Q4 saw influencer marketing rise to 2,110 campaigns across the US, a number that rose each quarter, but 2020 saw that number decrease to 1,945 in Q1 and then to 1,575 in Q2. As the year progressed, the change in momentum happened, and Q3 saw the number of campaigns rise to 2,163, and Q4 ended with 2,901. A massive increase from Q2 to Q4 with the year ending. Why this move, people started to adapt to the new norm, and industries, such as home fitness, saw a massive increase in sales and businesses took full advantage.

With the number of campaigns increasing in the second half of 2020, the projections for 2021 followed suite, with a 30% growth projected at $3+ billion spent in 2021, and early reports of $4+ billion in 2022 according to emarketer.com. One industry that has a lot to do with the increase in money & campaigns is the travel industry, who over the past few years have relied heavily on influencer marketing. Over 2020, the travel industry lost 1.3 trillion dollars in export revenue worldwide, so as destinations open their doors back to tourists, it made sense for them to utilize influencer marketing to promote traveling. What is key for the travel industry is to build trust, while people are getting stir crazy and are loosely planning trips with loved ones, a large concern was/is still getting sick. Destinations & hotels need to highlight the measures they’re taking to keep their visitors safe. By highlighting the measures they’re taking, it gives the customer a sense of relief that if they decide to follow through with their trip, they can do it safely.

2021 has been a strong year for influencer marketing and is poised to finish out the year strong and reach its projection of $3+ billion dollars, but as we have come to be familiar with, 2021 could finish the year differently. The increased risk of the “Delta Variant” has the chance to alter some of these projections, but if industries & business remain open, we should not see a hit to influencer marketing. The industry made it out of 2020 alive and saw 2021 continue to grow, with projections of 2022 to be even bigger. Influencer marketing post COVID proved to still be a viable option even with an early hiccup in 2020, as long as industries continue to adapt, businesses & agencies will continue to spend money.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Man placing sports bet at home on mobile phone and laptop computer

Growing up in a top sports market like Philadelphia has had its ups and downs in terms of winning teams. But if nothing else, it’s always an exciting place if you love sports. Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, Flyers have provided year-round conversation, drama, and debate amongst me and my friends. One thing that goes along with those conversations is sports betting. What lines we like, what games to bet, which teams we think are a lock. As early as middle school my friends and I have been betting on sports. Fast forward to 2021 and now we can pick up our cell phones, download a sports betting app, deposit money from our bank account and away we go. And the best part, it’s all legal.

Working for A3 Media, I think about the following question and how it relates to our industry. What impact will the sports betting industry have on media and advertising opportunities?

First some background. In 2018 the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which took away the federal government’s power to regulate sports betting. Sports betting is now legal in 22+ states, with more currently working on legislation. Since the PASPA ban was lifted, over $45 billion has been legally wagered in the U.S., according to Legal Sports Report. However, it is important to understand that there are no national advertising standards or federal agencies in charge of monitoring marketing activities. Rules and guidelines are ever changing. All sports betting practices, including marketing and advertising, are regulated by the individual gaming commissions in each state.

An Increase in Advertising Opportunities
One indicator that there will be growth in sports betting advertising and sponsorships are the number of recent mega media deals. More and more broadcast and cable networks are partnering up with sportsbooks. For example, Fox Sports invested in their own Fox Bet branded app, then there is CBS inking a deal with William Hill to make them their official sportsbook sponsor and both DraftKings and FanDuel are working on plans with Turner Sports.

The interesting thing about these deals will be how they will create a shift in content when it comes to TV, sports radio, social media, mobile apps, and even in-game commentary. Look for television commercials that promote betting apps and offer a bonus or a cash incentive to download their app. I expect an increase in network broadcasters and personalities discussing the betting lines, over/under plays, and even their picks before, during, and after the games. I read a recent article that satellite TV provider Dish Network has partnered with DraftKings to incorporate content into live sports games. Users can then use their DraftKings app to initiate bets, and then view live games that correspond with those bets on their TVs. US sports betting revenue is expected to increase from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $10.1 billion by 2028.

As advertising dollars and revenue increase, expect to see a greater number of things like podcasts and influencer marketing related to sports betting. There will be even more sponsorships from players across the different sports leagues promoting betting apps and websites. I also expect to see some stand-alone sports betting parlors open where patrons can view all the lines, place bets, and watch their games. Look for social media to play a greater role specifically with Twitter. As a real-time platform Twitter can help provide insight, commentary, and video all related to sports matchups. 

In conclusion, some may continue to view sports betting as a vice industry that lacks morals and pushes non-suitable content. However, the numbers don’t lie. It’s been shown that there is a rabid following for this industry especially with online and mobile betting. As each generation becomes even more tech savvy than the next, and things like bragging rights and social relevance become more important, sports betting will be commonplace.

In the next 10-15 years the outlook looks strong for advertising and media opportunities related to sports betting. This will lead to increased fan engagement and will ultimately increase overall viewership, making sporting events that much more exciting.

One thing is for sure, sports betting revenue and advertising opportunities are the odds-on favorite to increase for years to come. That’s a stone-cold lock.

Written by:
Bob Freas
Social Media Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Take a minute to think about exactly how many balls you need to juggle every day, knowing the success of your business means dropping even one may have negative results. But you can’t survive just maintaining, you need to grow. Does the thought of adding a few more balls to juggle sound like a solid foundation for the future success?

It is estimated that the average person now sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day and it’s only going to increase. Projections show a potential increase of $184 billion dollars in global ad spends over the next four years, a 32% increase over 2020!

How is it possible to reach your consumers against these daunting odds? It only takes a few steps, not simple steps, but a few… careful deliberation, detailed planning, utilizing the best options, negotiating the best deal possible, executing flawless contracts, circulating creative, and verifying you received what you’re paying for.

Consider the options:

  1. The largest age group for TV consumption is 65+
    • Since 2013 an astonishing 20 MM US households have dropped their paid TV services.
    • By 2023 it is estimated that an additional 10MM US household will terminate their paid TV subscriptions.
    • In addition to cord cutters, “Cord Nevers”, millennials that simply cannot afford to subscribe to paid TV services as they enter the workforce, will only add to those traditional TV cannot reach.
  2. Radio still reaches 98% of all US adults 18+ but there are more than 15,000 radio stations in the US.
  3. OOH (Out of Home, a/k/a Outdoor) advertising remains a viable option under the right circumstances.
  4. Social and digital media stats:
    • “Google and Facebook still hold the largest share of total U.S. digital ad spending, with 37.2% and 19.6% respectively.”
    • “70-80% of users ignore sponsored search results.”
    • “While 80% of businesses that have an online presence believe they deliver great customer service via their social media channels, only 8% of their customers agree.”
    • “In 2019, more than two-thirds of the total U.S. digital advertising budget was dedicated to mobile devices.”

The list above is a condensed overview of the choices available to reach your consumers, but this is only one of the factors.

Next consider:

  1. How many mediums will it take to garner the results expected and needed.
    • How will you determine what the best “mix” will be?
    • How much will it cost?
    • How long will it take to wrap?
    • Is this the most productive use of your time and money?
  2. You constantly strive to negotiate the best possible deals for your business…
    • Media negotiations are more likely not quite the same as your daily  negotiations. Can you allocate the time needed to an already overloaded schedule? If you can, add a little more to make sure the contract reads EXACTLY as you have already agreed to. Don’t be too surprised if it doesn’t and needs a revision or two.
  3. Next comes creative, not just the message and production but every nuance involved for each form of media and every media outlet chosen.
  4. Now you can stop and catch your breath briefly, after all the thought, planning, verifying availability, negotiations, and contracts, you’re still not finished. You get to add all this to your receivables, payables and most importantly……. Verifying that you received what you paid for.

Perhaps you would be better served to let us do the lifting with your media placement. Think of A3 Media as a tugboat that helps get your ship where you need to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re piloting a fishing boat, a luxury cruise ship or the world’s largest most advanced cargo ship ever produced – you chart the course and stay in control, we help fight the currents so you can stay on course to the next destination.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
To show Monitoring and Tracking System flow in Media Buying.

Part II: Tracking Rotation

Previously, I discussed the importance of checking pacing, a.k.a daily impression delivery (see blog post here), as part of the overall post buy monitoring process. Another part of this process that should not be ignored is trafficking instruction confirmation and creative rotation verification.

The creative and media teams often join forces to craft a complete strategy that delivers multiple creative assets to the maximum benefit for the client. Trafficking is the execution of the planned creative spots and often involves rotating said spots. Basically, rotation is determining the mix of multiple creative assets across an advertising medium. Sometimes rotation is simply spreading multiple creative spots out evenly. For example, spot A and spot B run evenly 50/50 throughout the entire flight or campaign. Other times, rotation is a more complex plan, involving many different creative assets, with different delivery goals and/or over different flight dates. For example, spot A and spot B run 60/40 for the first 3 weeks, then spot B and spot C run 40/60 for the next 6 weeks. As an agency, we never want to be in a position where the vendor does not execute our plan correctly.  

Communicating the trafficking instructions to each vendor is key. One of the first steps we do on every buy is to have a conversation with our AE to ensure that all creative assets were received, and traffic instructions are understood. Nothing is left to assumption and a simple email and/or phone call often ‘sets the campaign off on the right path’ and avoids much turmoil later.  

Once the campaign begins, it is important to check that the proper creative rotation is executed. Monitoring should begin as soon as possible to make sure spot(s) are delivered as instructed and, if required, any necessary changes are promptly made.  From there weekly checking may be necessary to ensure the instructions are being followed or corrective action occurs. Also, anytime the trafficking instructions change, a follow-up conversation with the AE and resumption of the monitoring process like it is a new buy is necessary.

So how is rotation checked? Sometimes, the creative rotation information is available from your vendor’s dashboard, but often, data this granular is not readily available. Do not be reluctant to ask your vendor to provide more information! On numerous occasions, I’ve noticed that even though everything looks good on the surface (i.e., pacing and impressions are good), when you dig deeper you find that your creative rotations are “off”. This is especially true when the campaign is targeting multiple DMAs. The rotation might be fine in one DMA but completely wrong in another. That is why it is important to sift through the data and examine it from various angles. It is often in this process that we find that human error is responsible for the error in rotation instructions. Had we not monitored this information from the beginning, we may never uncover that the trafficking instructions were not followed.

If you determine that the trafficking instructions were not followed and rotation is not as it should be, a conversation with the vendor is required. A new rotation plan, which sometimes may include makegoods from the vendor, needs to be developed and implement to ensure the initial plan is completed as designed.

Effectively monitoring rotation is one way to ensure that the planned buy is executed as designed. Without regular observation, taking corrective action is impossible and the monetary investment as well as the time planning and strategizing for a successful campaign is wasted. At A3 Media we believe a well-thought-out buy deserves effective post-buy monitoring to ensure the buy runs as designed which is why we investigate delivery reports with a fine tooth comb.

Written by:
Jennifer Vanisko
Reconciliation Specialist

Reading Time: 6 minutes
The NCAA Logo on top of background of money with basketball and football icons

The previous nomenclature for the letters NIL meant “Zero” and was reserved for describing a zero-point total in sports such as Soccer. “Times they are a-changing.”

Background

Today, the same letters represent the acronym NIL meaning Name, Image, and Likeness, which refers to the recent change in rules by the NCAA in how it will now allow amateur Student/Athletes to profit from their own Name, Image, and Likeness on the open market, rather than simply forfeiting those profits to the NCAA, and the colleges and universities they attend.

This recent change of heart by the NCAA is triggered by many factors, not least of which is the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 21, 2021 that the NCAA’s rules restricting education related benefits were illegal and they emphasized the point with a unanimous decision.  As voiced by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, “Nowhere else in America can business get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate”. Judge Kavanaugh further expounded by saying, “Under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.”

A Few Points to Consider:

  • The original defined purpose of the restrictions on Student/Athletes from profiting from their Name, Image, and Likeness was that it might unduly influence amateur sports and was based upon the prevailing belief that “college athletes are not professionals and therefore do not need to be compensated as such.” 
  • The NCAA, seeing the writing on the wall, have lobbied congress to pass a nationwide NIL law, to avoid a state-by-state patchwork of rules and laws. Fearing this could create an imbalance in recruiting advantages between competing colleges simply based on the state in which they reside.
  • Congress has failed to pass this nationwide law. To compound this, the recent ruling by the Supreme Court forced the NCAA’s hand to enact this rule change on July 1st, 2021.
  • On June 30, 2021, the governance bodies of all three divisions adopted a uniform interim policy suspending the NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports. This was done in hopes to avoid conflicts created by a patchwork of rules and laws being passed by the states, since Congress failed to act.

    These policy changes are:
    • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
    • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL Law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules relating to Name, Image, and Likeness.
    • Individuals can use a professional services provider (agent), for NIL activities.
    • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

What Does this Mean to Student-Athletes?


If they live in a state where NIL legislation has been passed, they can profit from their Name, Image, and Likeness. If you live in a state where there are no laws on the books defining the NIL situation, it is up to the college or university to come up with a policy for the student-athletes to follow.

There are currently, (As of July 2, 2021) several states this will affect immediately, due to the laws already passed to deal with NIL issues.

How might this impact the way Student/Athletes are chosen and sponsored?

In the past, only the very top 1% of 1% of all athletes may have garnered attention coming out of high school. With the rules change, more student athletes in all divisions, will be seeking more regional sponsorships. Arrangements which not only make the amateur-athletes regionally and locally famous, but that will also boost the reputation of colleges these players attend, which will excite and grow their fan base.

Professional teams need stars to create buzz and excitement by signing well known and popular athletes, to put fans in the stands. They need star players to drive sales of the revenue generating items like jerseys, hats and everything that goes with it.  

I suggest professional teams will begin to consider what intangible benefits a popular athlete can bring to their program, attributes beyond those of simply their physical abilities. It might be enough to tip the balance in favor of one player vs an equally qualified other player at the same position. That difference may be the reason one athlete will get a chance at the pros, while an equally talented athlete may not get that opportunity.

What Opportunities does the NIL change bring to the different Media Channels?

  • Broadcast TV: It is great for mass visibility, but traditionally has been and most likely will continue to be the realm of only the very top athletes in amateur and professional sports because of the costs.
  • Cable: Cable may see some additional spends for product sponsorships in regional telecasts of regional sports. Again, for most athletes outside those at the very top, most companies will not likely invest heavily in the player sponsored ads due to the cost.
  • Radio: Radio is another great mass media medium and can be affordable but has the drawback of no visual image. This limits its value to the sponsoring company to the simple audio connection to the athletes in Name only while forgoing the value of their Image and Likeness. It’s not really maximizing the three elements of NIL.
  • OTT & Streaming: Much like cable, these mediums will likely be utilized to promote the NIL elements and adopted early. Advertisers will be able to measure ROI for these types of investments, very quickly. Additionally, with the increase in the number of regionally streamed sporting events, that might be the key to spur growth for the medium thanks to the NIL changes.
  • Direct Digital Displays: Direct On-Line and Mobile ads may see a boost from the rule change, but the challenge of the One-to-One delivery methodology of the ads, might not be the most cost-effective vehicle to deliver the broad reach many players will desire. On the other hand, 97% of adults own a cellphone and that number pushes to almost 99% for millennials with smart phones. The targeting capabilities might work to drive growth in social media followers, which if used judiciously, might even be more important for developing a player’s brand and social media presence.   
  • Social Media & Influencer Marketing: Both mediums should be getting a bump from the new NIL policies and laws. Especially since companies like AthleticdirectorU have started to try and figure out valuations for athletic sponsorships. In one example they relate the CPM to the number of Instagram followers an amateur athlete has. By analyzing what the world’s top 100 professional athletes make from endorsements, consisting of multiple brands, they came up with an average of .80 cents per Instagram follower. If applied in the same way to college athletes, this could be a basis for determining how much college athletes are compensated and at what rate. Both mediums deliver on the Name, Image, and Likeness aspects and additional support of Influencers this should benefit the sponsors and the sponsored by leveraging all three elements for the mutual benefit of both.
  • OOH: Out of Home has some unique advantages that suit it for garnering media investment from the NIL changes. It is a great vehicle to deliver on the Name, Image, and Likeness elements. It can be regional and local (like most of the A- to B+ level athletic stars and the colleges they attend). It can reach a broad range of potential clients in an area, combining advertiser’s messages or branding along with delivering a visual image of the athlete, their name and potentially their likeness in uniform (where not restricted by the college). From a CPM basis, this medium delivers. Broad reach, frequency, and the ability not to be skipped should deliver better results than many other advertising mediums and at an overall lower cost. Since the athlete is getting their name and image out in front of not just the local fans, but in front of others outside the typical targeted demo it creates value for the athletes as well as the advertiser by casting a wider net. The players are recognized and known to a wider audience, which in turn can help grow their social media following. That following may someday contribute to getting signed when the pro’s come calling.  Additionally, because of the lower entry cost to sponsor players with an OOH campaign this can bring in more local advertisers that typically never dreamed they would be able to afford a sponsorship arrangement.

The Wrap

The jury is still out whether this will help amateur sports or hurt it. It seems likely to be a benefit to many student athletes as they play the sports they love and will further compensate them for their time and effort, while also reducing the stranglehold held for so long by a handful of controlling institutions.

One undeniable fact is advertisers should get out ahead of this sea of change on how sponsorships are handled and proactively sign a larger number of more regional “star athletes” to sponsorship agreements. If they do, many advertising mediums should see a boost for their business. The opportunity is there, and every local sports hero with talent, drive, and dreams of playing professional sports will likely be eager to see their Name, Image, and Likeness on the big screens (billboards) or the little screens (their friend’s phones).