The 2016 World Series more than doubled TV ad revenue from the 2015 Series

Wrigley Field in Chicago
Wrigley Field in Chicago played partial host to a record-setting World Series. Image: Rdikeman/CC BY-SA 3.0

October was a month of ad revenue growth for TV broadcasters, marked by big year-over-year increases in ad earnings for the World Series.

According to Standard Media Index’s numbers for the month, the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs brought in 111% more ad revenue than the 2015 World Series. The highest cost per 30-second spot came during Game 7, when spots averaged $364,700, 31% more than the costly spots sold during the 2015 World Series.

Broadcasters also got a boost from the NFL in spite of ongoing concerns about professional football ratings. According to the report, the average 30-second spot across all NBC, CBS, FOX and ESPN NFL games in October was $455,310, a 4% increase over the same period last year. NFL games brought in $750 Million in total revenue for those networks during October, up 14% over last year.

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In all, it was once again live sports that proved the biggest growth driver.

“Live sport continues to be the main driver of advertiser revenue and audience attention for TV. While we expect to see this slow down as the networks pay back undelivered audiences, it’s clear that advertisers are not backing away from the huge and guaranteed following football delivers. Similarly, we also saw record numbers for the 2016 World Series,” said James Fennessy, CEO of SMI, in a statement.

Still, live sports advertising successes didn’t necessarily translate to overall growth for all networks. Fox saw total TV ad revenue climb 32% and NBC’s revenue jumped 17%, but CBS’s revenue actually fell 7%. Primetime revenue for all four major networks fell 4.6%, but the average cost for a 30 second spot rose 1.5%.

Cable networks also managed to grow during the month, with or without the help of live sports. Turner’s TBS and TNT both grew, 15% and 32%, respectively. Meanwhile, Scripps’ HGTV and Food Network both grew annually, 20% and 18% respectively.


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