OOH Viewing of TBS’ MLB Division Series Spikes

TBS’ coverage of the 2009 Major League Baseball Division Series enjoyed a significant lift from out-of-home viewing, as the network’s delivery of adults 25-54 improved 27 percent upon application of Arbitron portable people meter data.
On the first day of postseason baseball (Oct. 7), TBS averaged 2.22 million adults 25-54, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. Arbitron’s measurement of OOH viewing in the top 10 markets added another 600,000 members of the demo, bringing the three-game average to 2.82 million.
Turner signed on as an Arbitron client a few weeks ago, with an eye toward lining up a deal before the first day of October baseball, said Jon Diament, Turner Sports executive vp, ad sales and marketing. The PPM measures viewing in bars, restaurants, hotels and other OOH areas.
Along with TBS’ presentation of the MLB playoffs, Turner will also tap Arbitron to measure OOH viewing for TNT’s NBA coverage.
“We’re looking at the out-of-home numbers for our bigger sporting events,” Diament said. “Anecdotally, we know that sports get a lift from out-of-home viewing, but it’s not automatic. Generally speaking, it’s the high-profile event that draws a significant audience in bars and restaurants.”
While Turner isn’t making guarantees against the Arbitron data, Diament said the networks are looking to use the intel to help juice new business. “We’re just getting the data out there, hoping to make sure our clients are aware of the audience we’re reaching. But there’s a contextual aspect to out-of-home that presents an interesting opportunity. You’re in a bar, watching the game, and an ad for Captain Morgan is almost like real-life product placement.”

Beer and liquor spots resonate in venues that serve alcoholic beverages, but other categories may benefit from the contextual lift of OOH viewing. “People watching the game in a hotel might be more receptive to ads for travel-related services, like Avis,” Diament said. “We’re seeing more and more office viewing, which presents a good small-business target.”
All told, TBS’ postseason MLB coverage is up 11 percent versus a year ago, with an average draw of 4.77 million viewers over the course of 13 games. Three of the four Division Series ended in three-game sweeps, a development that prompted the ad sales team to shift a handful of clients into its National League Championship Series coverage.
The NLCS showdown between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers begins tonight (Oct. 15) on TBS. The first pitch is due to cross the plate at 8:07 p.m. As the first game of the best-of-seven-series falls on a movie-friendly Thursday night, TBS a handful of studio spots lined up, including promos for upcoming releases from Overture Films, Summit  Entertainment and Warner Bros.

The ALCS (Yankees-Angels) begins Friday night on Fox.