Battle of Reach: Radio vs. Sports Sponsorships

Many companies use sports sponsorships as a marketing tool. In fact, marketers are expected to spend about $17 billion on sports sponsorships this year, according to Statista. But radio is also seeing a surge in advertising spend – projected to increase nearly 210% from 2010 to 2021. Both channels can be used to build brand awareness, increase sales and introduce products to a new market. But when it comes to the ability to successfully extend your brand’s reach, sports sponsorships can’t compare.

Challenges of Using Sports Sponsorships

Before discussing why radio wins in terms of reach, let’s take a look at the drawbacks of using sports sponsorships as an advertising channel.

Absence of Reporting Standards

If a company chooses sports sponsorships as a way to improve their visibility, they may never know whether they have achieved their desired results. Up to 50% of U.S companies don’t have a system in place to track the effectiveness of their sponsorship.

Risk of Controversies

If there are other businesses offering sponsorships to the same sports team, the chances of controversies arising are high. Moreover, your brand can be associated with any controversies surrounding the sponsored team or player.

Cost Per Reach

The costs of sports sponsorships can be high. They include activation charges for merchandise and booths, as well as rights fees. What’s more, it may still be difficult to reach the desired demographics even after spending so much money.

Radio Advertising vs. Sports Sponsorships:

Both radio and sports sponsorships are viable options for businesses that are looking to improve their visibility. However, radio advertising offers more advantages to companies looking to successfully extend their reach to larger audiences. The following are some of the benefits of radio advertising in terms of reach.

Radio Reaches Wider Audiences

More than nine of 10 Americans listen to radio every week, according to Nielsen. And radio advertising makes it possible to reach wider audiences than most other advertising methods. People can listen to the radio in their homes, offices and when they’re on the road. Therefore, you have more chances to reach your target audience, whereas sports sponsorships may only reach fans of particular sporting events.

Radio is Cost-Effective

As we mentioned earlier, the costs for sports sponsorships can run high, which can negatively impact the cost per reach (CPR). With radio, however, the cost to reach 1,000 listeners (CPM) is significantly lower than other advertising channels. In fact, a week’s worth of radio advertisements can range between $200 and $5,000, depending on your location. Based on the number of people who could potentially hear – and act on – your ad, radio stands as the smarter investment.

Radio Delivers Strong ROI

We’ve established that it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of sport sponsorships, but radio is proven to deliver an impressive ROI. In fact, every dollar that a company spends on radio advertising generates up to $12 in sales. Even more, local businesses tend to see a more immediate return with radio than with other types of advertising. There are many factors that contribute to radio’s effectiveness, including the ability to reach listeners at the point of purchase, the powerful influence of on-air personalities and listener loyalty.

Radio is clearly a better choice than sports sponsorships when it comes to extending your reach. It has massive reach, ads are cost-effective and it’s proven to deliver measurable results. Consider these three factors when determining which advertising channel to add to your marketing strategy.


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