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America’s Pastime: Popular with Fans and Sponsors

2 minute read | July 2018

After nearly a half-century, America’s pastime is going to back the nation’s capital this year for the 89th Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game. And when the annual mid-season all-star event takes place, millions of eyeballs will likely be watching. Among Americans, professional baseball is the second-most popular sport in the country, second only to football.

According to Nielsen Scarborough research, nearly 42% of adults in the U.S. have watched an MLB game on television. But fans aren’t just watching games, they’re listening as well. In fact, Major League Baseball is the most listened to sport in the U.S. with nearly 12% of adults having listened to a game broadcast in the past year. Nielsen’s portable people meter (PPM) radio ratings for April confirm a seasonal increase in listening to sports radio stations when the MLB season gets underway.

MLB provides valuable exposure to sponsors with its large fan base, high volume of games and steady camera angles that capture branding when the television audience is fixed on the action. Brands received more than $1.5 billion in television exposure during the 2,430 regular season game broadcasts in 2017.  

Banking, insurance, automotive, beer, airlines and telecommunications are the top sponsorship categories in MLB games so far in 2018. And these categories are well-represented in the 2018 MLB All-Star festivities, with Mastercard as the game entitlement sponsor, GEICO as the sponsor of Fan Fest and T-Mobile presenting the Home Run Derby.

With so much attention on home plate, it should be no surprise that the rotating board behind home plate is the most valuable piece of sponsorship real estate during game broadcasts. At the halfway point of the season, the rotating board has already delivered a cumulative $304 million in exposure, followed by the static board behind home plate at $180.7 million.

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