With the recent announcement of the CW Network airing 50 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football and basketball games, the amount of live sports inventory increased substantially. Some would argue that there is a glut of inventory, hence a buyers' market. But as money continues to move out of Prime and into other dayparts, pricing your live sports becomes more of a priority as the competition for dollars will increase.
Here are some obvious best practices that you can still incorporate with business laying in as late as it is for Q3 as well as Q4:
Identify key match-ups. Pricing football is not a “one size fits all” exercise. Take advantage of local and regional games by putting a premium price on those events. Buyers with lower-than-normal need rates can fill the other games with lesser demand.
If you’re not already, make sure you’re quoting higher rates for internal placement vs. global or collar placement. Buyers who demand “in-game” should have to pay the prevailing rate for that inventory.
Utilize unsold inventory for make goods. Again, this is an obvious practice, but stations can quickly clear a large number of preemptions using this unsold inventory.
Price auto weeks higher than non-auto weeks. Unless you have a local/regional game of interest in the first two weeks of the month, don’t be afraid to price that inventory lower to advertisers looking for a lower rate to get in.
Again, with business booking as late as it has been, we don’t necessarily want to operate out of fear that we’ll not get bought at our prevailing rates. Should the writers and SAG strike continue into Q4, there will be more than enough demand for live sports, even with the increase in available supply.