Zoom Acquires Sports Display

Zoom Media & Marketing, one of the major consolidators in the place-based out-of-home media business, announced Wednesday (April 7) it purchased the assets of Sports Display, a California-based OOH media company with a network of thousands of sports and fitness venues across the U.S. and Canada.

It’s the sixth aquisition for Zoom in 18 months. But unlike other Zoom deals, the Sports Display acquisition has more to do with building Zoom’s local sales force than expanding its distribution footprint. Sports Display’s sales force of 100 executives will immediately begin selling across Zoom’s digital network of 2,000 fitness clubs and 9,000 static venues across the U.S. and Canada.

Out-of-home is primarily a local business, accounting for as much as 70 percent of OOH revenue. But building a local sales force isn’t easy and takes time. As a prelude to the deal, Sports Display’s sales reps last summer sold inventory across Zoom’s inventory, an arrangement that culminated in a deal.

“This allows us to have both a national and local revenue stream,” said Dennis Roche, president of Zoom. “We have national reach, but national advertisers don’t buy smaller markets. Local advertising is a tough business to build. This can instantly transform our business,” Roche added.

Zoom expects its new strength at the local level will help it to better leverage inventory across its digital venues. “Over the summer, sales sold twice as many ads against digital. It’s twice as producive as static,” Roche said.

The merger will also help to accelerate the rollout of digital displays across Sports Displays venues. Over the past year, Sports Display converted more than 150 of its traditional, static displays to digital, mostly in health clubs—a strong complement to Zoom’s digital fitness network.

“Zoom’s huge venue footprint, strong national advertiser focus and digital expertise is the perfect complement to the organization we have built over 33 years,” said Terry Parkin, co-founder of Sports Display. Both Parkin and co-founder Ron Benjamin plan to remain with Zoom.