Seven years ago, Tomes Auto Group changed its approach to advertising.

“We decided we only wanted TV advertising involving sporting events, because people are connected; their eyeballs are glued to the screen,” says Brandon Tomes, president of Tomes Auto Group and its dealerships in Texas.

Today, sports marketing remains a key way to reach consumers. Live sports are the crown jewel of television – the most watched and valuable programming and the most powerful place to advertise. According to Nielsen, sports accounted for 98% of the 50 most watched programs in 2021 on American television.1

Some 99% of viewers who watch sports watch them live or on the same day.2 This is a reliable place for “date” viewing and a place where ads are seen, not ignored.

West Herr Auto Group in western New York also knows the power of sports marketing. “As a marketer, you want to focus your efforts where there’s consumer attention – and for a lot of people, that’s disproportionate interest in sports,” says Matt Lasher, chief marketing officer of West Herr. .

The automotive group has signed a list of current and former professional football players who serve as local community ambassadors for its dealership. “People have a high emotional connection to sports,” Lasher says. “By associating with people they like, we get some of that good vibe.”

With so many different ways to connect with fans, how can you maximize your investment in the sport? How can you make sure your ads reach the fans you want to reach? Spectrum Reach experts suggest these best practices for getting the most out of your sports marketing dollars:

Switch to multi-screen: Today, the average American household has 25 connected devices, twice as many as two years ago.3 Sports fans watch their favorite teams and key matches not only on the big screen in the living room, but also in the garden on a laptop and on the go on tablets and phones, and sometimes on two screens at once. To ensure maximum reach and frequency, dealers should develop a multi-screen strategy that includes both linear TV and streaming TV. Adding streaming to a linear-only campaign will increase a campaign’s reach by 28%, according to research from Spectrum Reach.4

Expand the sports offer: Although the “big four” professional sports are always a starting point for advertisers, Americans have a seemingly bottomless appetite for watching sports.

Many sports are gaining popularity. For example, football is overtaking hockey with American viewers, especially with the Hispanic population.5 Dealers can seek out these and other lesser-known but effective locations to reach unique fans or to reach avid sports consumers with increased frequency.

In addition to using professional athletes as ambassadors, college student athletes are now able to secure sponsorship deals, and dealers can also create distinctive and locally relevant campaigns around these athletes.

Better ad targeting: Today, marketers can buy television ad time the same way they buy digital ads on search engines, social media, or websites. Rather than relying on demographics like males 25-54, using impression-based measurement, an advertiser can target audiences with a higher propensity to buy.

Spectrum Reach takes its aggregated and anonymized first-party audience data and overlays it with privacy-focused third-party automotive data. In doing so, it is possible to determine how different tastes in sports programming reveal distinct preferences between car brands.

Many dealers operated on faith and guts when throwing dollars at major sporting events on television. They knew the notes were there, but wondered about the ultimate impact. The fragmentation of the media landscape has made it even more difficult to measure results consistently across all advertising platforms.

It is therefore more important to work with partners who offer easy-to-use dashboards and solid attribution solutions. Spectrum Reach, for example, has partnered with industry leaders in attribution (TV Squared) and data privacy (Blockgraph) to create a multi-screen attribution solution. Solutions like these can help advertisers connect the dots, linking ad exposures for linear and streaming TV to business outcomes such as website visits. This means that dealers avoid advertising waste.

The Bottom Line: Sports marketing is a powerful way to advertise and can be effective for dealerships. Taking the time to follow these strategies and get it right can help knock you out of the park.

Spectrum Reach Automotive has local experts and an award-winning creative agency in over 90 US markets with expertise in creating data-driven, multi-screen advertising campaigns that influence automotive buyers. Visit to learn more.


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