The National Football League continues to draw sponsors despite lower ratings and the polarizing player protests during the national anthem. Research company Standard Media Index notes that the NFL’s TV partners saw an increase of 3% in ad revenue during the month of October and in real dollars, it amounts to an estimated $757 million.

This increase came despite the fact that there was one fewer game in the month. However, an extra primetime game during CBS’ half of the Thursday Night Football package helped to offset the loss of that one game during October.

An average 30-second spot cost $482,000, which is up 7% from last year. CBS’ Sunday afternoon ratings may be down from last year, but it’s charging more for its games at $429,000 per 30-second ad. That’s up from $386,000 last season.

CBS was seeking $500,000 for Thursday Night Football, flat from 2016.

Fox is charging just under $650,000 per unit this season and that’s up over $500 from this same time last year.

However, ESPN and NBC are seeing lower prices for Monday and Sunday Night Football, respectively. ESPN is selling MNF at $271,000 per 30-second ad while NBC saw a $7,000 fall this year, charging $572,000 per unit.

The broadcast networks all saw increases in ad revenue. ESPN was the only network which saw its revenue from the NFL fall, off 18% from last year.

So the NFL remains a friendly place for advertisers. Ratings may be down and there are issues plauging the league. However, the networks are continuing to sell ads and make money in the process. It may take something extremely controversial for advertisers to completely pull out of sponsoring the NFL.

[Broadcasting & Cable]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.