Autumn has arrived and, to the relief of many football fans, NFL games are back despite the pandemic. The sports world has always been fueled by advertising and sponsorships, but this season fans can expect even more intense “messaging” than usual. As reported by NPR, presidential campaigns for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are planning to spend large amounts to get in front of a national football audience.
In fact, tracking firm Advertising Analytics estimates that Biden’s pre-bookings add up to $25 million and notes that this is “the first time we’ve seen something of that magnitude” when it comes to presidential campaign ads during an NFL season. Biden aired an expensive, minute-long national ad during the Chiefs vs. Texans matchup on September 10th. Trump’s campaign attempted to be more strategic with $1.1 million in ads targeting 21 local TV markets in swing states. That said, Biden also aired seven different ads in 18 local media markets during the game.
With the election only weeks away and many voters having already made up their minds on who they intend to vote for, both campaigns are spending big to convince the small percentage of citizens who are still undecided. When it comes to sports, the NFL presents an interesting opportunity for both campaigns to speak to fans from both sides of the aisle. Interpret’s New Media Measure® indicates that 40% of NFL fans are mostly liberal or Democrat compared to 34% who are mostly conservative or Republican. That 6%-point gap between political affiliations among the fanbase isn’t as high as it is for the NBA (46% Democrat, 26% Republican) or NASCAR (49% Republican, 29% Democrat), so political ads during this season’s football games do have a chance of swaying some people, especially considering that 26% of NFL viewers are unattached to either major political party.