Marketing Strategy
Why advertising in sport is worth the try post COVID-19

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Angie Smith
April 3, 2020

It is undeniable that Australians love sport, whether it’s one you play or one you watch. Sport brings people together with emotive and suspenseful content and continues to endure in Australian culture. As a result, sports advertising has always been a powerful way to share your brand message and build awareness.

With the onset of COVID-19, sport as we once knew it has changed drastically in front of our eyes, with seasons being postponed, cancelled events, and disheartened fans nationally.

However, whilst this time of uncertainty has put a hold on activities that have become a norm in our society such as attending or streaming live games, gathering around the TV with family and friends, or tuning into the radio for the latest updates… it is certain that sport will be there waiting patiently for its return at the end of this crisis, and will undoubtedly be making some serious noise.

How has COVID-19 impacted sporting events so far?

The sporting calendar for Australia has seen significant disruption due to the spread of COVID-19, in the last few weeks we have seen:

  • The A-League season put on hold until further notice
  • NRL indefinitely suspended
  • The AFL postpone the current season, with no date set to restart
  • The Netball season deferred until at least July
  • All cricket events cancelled, with NSW declared the Marsh Sheffield Shield champions.

Meanwhile, on a global scale, the Tokyo Olympics had become a casualty of the pandemic, with the decision to have the games postponed until July 23rd, 2021 put into place.

But despite the madness and changes happening daily, it is important to remember that sport has always been about uniting groups of people who share the same love and passion for the game. These groups of people will be the first to purchase tickets to the next stadium game, or share game updates on their Twitter and social feeds, and be the ones supporting the return of their much-loved sports.

An upcoming boom in Sports advertising?

Why does this matter for advertisers and why should brands be planning now for this return?

When sporting events return to the calendar, audiences will be more engaged and captured than ever due to the anticipation of their sports to start back up again.

Brands have the opportunity to position or reposition themselves to their audiences in high impact settings both in-stadium and through broadcast and have the power to align themselves at the forefront of a sporting game and season.

So where to start?

Advertising in sport may be something your brand is already doing or something that has been discussed. There are multiple ways your brand can advertise in sport or surrounding it, and for this post, we will focus on ‘In-Stadium’ and ‘Radio’.

In-Stadium Sports Advertising

Picture this…you are sitting around with friends around the TV screen watching a game of NRL, and your eyes are glued to the screen following each movement of the ball. Whilst leaning into the action of the game, you see an advertisement in your visual peripheral field.

This messaging may not impact you straight away, but with repetitive and consistent messaging, accompanied by other media, the possibility of building a stronger rapport with the brand is enhanced.

In-Stadium advertising such as Digital LED, Stadium TVC’s, Virtual Signage and On-Court Decal have the power of allowing brands to capture audiences who have attended the game, people who are watching the game from home on TV/mobile, or people who were unable to watch the game live and are using Catch up TV.

Stadium Advertising During Cowboys Game
Source: QMS Media

Radio Sponsorships

Another powerful way brands advertise across sports events is through Radio.

Whether you are looking to do a sponsorship that includes pre-recorded commercials, brand credit lines or live reads to amplify your campaign, this broadcast medium has the capability of giving your brand great exposure in a trusted environment offering frequency and reach.

A sponsorship may also allow your brand to leverage a radio stations digital offering which could include podcasts, digital display assets on their website, or audio to those who are streaming radio online during these sporting moment’s.

If you are looking to utilise Radio or In-stadium advertising for an upcoming brand campaign or would like to discuss how to get a head start on the upcoming sports advertising boom, get in touch with MediaSmiths. We have helped companies achieve exciting results through tailored sports campaigns on a state-based or national level.

Final things to remember

Brands that have consistent, strong and memorable messaging have the power to cut through and be top of mind for the consumer.

It is important to remember that audiences are exposed to a multitude of advertisements throughout their sporting consumption, so it is integral that creative execution is clearly thought out – keep in mind that you:

  • Focus on the three C’s every high impact campaign needs to deliver a strong emotional response and an engaging brand story.
  • Make sure that your campaign is backed up with other media to reach each touchpoint of your consumer’s journey.

So, whilst we await the all-clear of COVID-19, get in touch with us today at as we can help plan, strategize and assist with any questions you may have for building out a sport driven campaign.


1 Coronavirus and Australian Sport – A List Of The Major Cancellations | The Guardian, 2020 [Accessed 26 March 2020].

About Angie Smith
Before founding independent agency MediaSmiths in 2007, Angela had worked on the agency, broadcast, and publishing sides of the media industry and has an incredible insight into how each world works. Since then, Angela has worked across numerous well-known brands covering the whole spectrum of media, and leverages this know-how with her experienced wider team to get the best results for clients.

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