High Hurdles: Selling Ads In The Sports Pages

Louis Hau, Media Reporter for Forbes, explores an undervalued resource in the newspaper business–the proper monetization of which could be a big help to a struggling industry.

Here’s one of the most perplexing aspects of the newspaper business: Readers love the sports section, but advertisers couldn’t care less.
As the industry struggles to staunch the bloodletting in advertising revenue, the time has come for a second look. The chronically underperforming sports section stands out as an underexploited opportunity to generate dollars.
The picture isn’t pretty at the moment. A quick survey of some major U.S. dailies finds sports an advertising wasteland, save for the occasional sneaker retailer or tire store. Thursday’s New York Times had no advertising at all in its sports section. Okay, there were a couple microscopic car ads on page two. But still.

I’d love to hear from any media buyers in the audience on this topic. The Forbes piece speculates about an all male audience, and laziness on the papers’ part. But I’m not sure about all that. Obviously sports is monetized to no end on TV and online. Why not in the dailies?

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.