Turner Broadcasting Just Re-invented Sports Advertising
Did Turner Broadcasting Just Re-invent Sports Advertising?
Did Turner Broadcasting Just Re-invent Sports Advertising?

The CES 2017 electronics expo was overstuffed with enough frivolous gadgets and toys to make tech junkies everywhere squeal with glee. But one of the big names that fell victim to the technological attention grabbers was Turner Broadcasting, which announced the launch of an in-house, full-service sports marketing agency at CES. The new agency, Turner Ignite Sports, aims to create a more streamlined way for advertisers to reach consumers.

The decision to launch a dedicated sports marketing agency comes in the wake of the success of Turner’s content and data solutions unit, which was formed last year. A new proprietary ad product called “Turner Native Plus” replaced 200 commercial slots with branded content. The result? Viewers paid 59% more attention to the native content. Additionally, engagement with traditional commercials was 62% higher when paired with branded content. Turner Ignite Sports is looking to reproduce those results for Turner’s sports programming, and here’s why they’ll likely succeed.


Brands currently looking to enter the sports advertising space are hesitant because of its complexity. Not only do they have to hire an advertising agency and a media buying agency, and find digital and network partners, they have to go through additional channels to access the athletes. After going through a talent agency to use a player, the brand would have to make separate negotiations with the player’s respective league.

Turner Ignite Sports will make it significantly easier for clients to expand into the sports landscape. Like a convenience store for clients, it has everything a client needs. No additional stops, and no navigating additional channels.


When you watch a live sporting event, losing interest during a timeout is nearly impossible. You’re yelling and cheering until your throat is raw — and everyone else around you is doing the same thing. There’s a constant energy, and not even a timeout can affect that feeling.

Watching a sporting event at home is different. You’re more apt to become one with your couch. You’re far less likely to yell and cheer. Even at a Super Bowl party, the atmosphere is tame and subdued compared to a live event. Losing interest during a timeout becomes all too easy because you have the unfortunate pleasure of seeing the commercials.

Although you probably don’t see them. You change the channel. And if you’re like me, the most unlucky sports consumer ever, you flip back to the game seconds after a big play.

But if you’re watching a game on TNT and the first (or only) content you see during a timeout is related to the channel or sport you’re watching, there’s a good chance you won’t reach for the remote. When the content is directed at the consumer, the consumer is naturally more engaged.

With a greater ease of access for clients and a probable decrease in viewers tuning out, Turner Ignite Sports seems like a guaranteed win for Turner’s properties and a game changer in the ad world.

About the Author

Russell Davey
Russell is a graduate of Marist College, with degrees in sports communication and public relations. Among his many passions are writing, sports marketing, social media, and lip syncing. When he's not doing client research he's hiking, working out, quoting TV shows, or putting peanut butter on any food he can. His self-esteem revolves entirely around his social media reputation, so follow him on Instagram (russell_the_muscle) and on Twitter (@bRussellSproutt). Please.

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