Advertising Is Content: The Threat To Streaming Sports Posed By A Tiny Advertisement Inventory

from the jingle-this dept

I’ve talked about the coming and evolving world of wider streaming in professional and major college sports for quite a while now. Even measuring only the past few years, streaming of sporting events has seen immense progress, from the leagues themselves getting on board and expanding options, to broadcast partners opening up their product online, to forward-looking team owners recognizing that the future is in streaming. Wide-spread streaming sports is going to happen, due to all of the above and the fact that cord-cutting is simply not going to go away.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t barriers to hurdle as progress is made. Today, I want to talk about one of them: the horrifically small advertising inventory too many sports streams have. Ads that become annoying due to repetition isn’t a new concept. There is even a TV Tropes page for it. But what for television is repeated ads as a mild annoyance due to poor scheduling or the notion that repetition makes ads more effective is something entirely different for the current crop of online stream ads. What we’re dealing with today is repetition of the same ads or ads for the same products/services over and over and over again, in break after break, often times repeated within breaks, all because the inventory is too low.

Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t a small problem. Not every person needs to use the bathroom at every commercial break. For sporting events in particular, this becomes a greater issue because the natural breaks in game action often times mean that commercial breaks will occasionally occur in near proximity to one another. Repeated ads in this case over the course of an entire event aren’t just annoying, they’re absolutely jarring to the viewer.

An anecdote: most of my NFL viewing occurs in my kitchen, typically using one of the streaming services, while I cook my family’s Sunday dinner. It’s a tradition in my house that I do dinners on Sunday. Having the NFL stream on my tablet in the kitchen made my wife angrily leave the room entirely and refuse to come back. I’m not exaggerating. There was a particular commercial featuring a certain quarterback saying random things in the sing-song of a particular company’s jingle that, over the course of roughly fifteen minutes, was played no less than ten times. It made her hate the stream, the advertiser, and probably me for having it on in the first place. Whatever advertising is hoping to achieve, the broadcaster cannot accept it causing viewers to literally leave the room in annoyance.

Television doesn’t have this problem currently, because the ad inventory is much higher. If you see an ad repeated two or three times during a single game, it’s no big deal. I’d guess that I saw three or four total ads on Fox’s stream something like thirty times each during the course of one game. That can’t go on. It makes the streaming product less valuable and less desirable. If advertising is content, and it is, then that content must never cause us to turn away and hide from it.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Advertising Is Content: The Threat To Streaming Sports Posed By A Tiny Advertisement Inventory”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
hij (profile) says:

How is this different from broadcast TV?

In the context of sports this is not that different from broadcast television. If you try to watch a football game all you get is an endless loop of the two different commercials trying to sell the two different kinds of erectile dysfunction drugs. As far as I can tell the primary audience for football is aging men who are so senile that they need to be reminded to buy their boner pills every four minutes. Then again, these are the same people who like to spend their time on the beach lounging in a tub.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: How is this different from broadcast TV?

Don’t forget the same commercials from the usual companies selling beer and trucks. How many times does Ford have to run a commercial for an F-150 for someone to buy it?

At what point does “brand awareness” turn into “brand annoyance”, as in “I remember that commercial! I hated it! I’ll buy something else!”

Anonymous Howard, Cowering says:


Your wife is a patient woman with deep tolerance. I detested that commercial the first time I saw/heard it. Also, I have found more interesting things to do this season than watch NFL’s product, largely because the commentators all read from the same script of talking points, even when the game has diverted from the pre-written assessment.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Congratulations

  1. there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the commercial (excepting that there is something ‘wrong’ with ALL commercials); it is just that the mildly amusing context IS lost after the millionth showing in the last hour…
    (actually, the amusement is lost after the first 3-4 showings, the other million are what induces the brain to be one neuron away from going postal…)

    2. on point of your boring commentators: i have always wished a couple regular guys/gals who are semi-knowledgeable of the sport would provide their own irreverent commentary of the games, AND poke the NFL in the eye for their bullshit “retransmission is illegal and we’ll kill you, blah blah blah”…
    with the right guys/gals providing off-the-wall comments, it might make pro football fun again…

    3. “It made her hate the stream, the advertiser, and probably me for having it on in the first place.”
    how long have you been married ? ? ? the order would be: hates YOU for having it on in the first place, and MAYBE thinks about the original offenders being semi-responsible…

    ‘chicken parm you taste so gooooooood…’

Anonmylous says:

Wrong audience.

By which I mean, complaining to us, while cathartic, is not constructive. You make an excellent point that honestly is more far-reaching than sports streams. Many streaming services such as Disney, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and more have this exact same issue.

You know who doesn’t though? YouTube. It has its own problems, but a lack of streaming ad catalog is not one of them. Just putting that out there.

As in politics, when you do not agree with how things are being run, write someone. Write to the people behind Fox Sports and let them know how disappointed you are by having your viewing experience ruined by such high repetition. Write to the companies displaying their ads on those streams. They pay for a certain value and understand that they are not getting what they paid for (or are being fleeced for additional revenue) when their ads are overplayed to such a ridiculous extent.

Do something. Be the change you want to see in others. 🙂

madasahatter (profile) says:

Re: Wrong audience.

The post is noting that streaming sports have an advertising problem – not enough ads sold to keep the annoying ones at bay and driving viewers away. This could result in the a double failure for sports – broadcast rights not worth as much not being replaced by streaming income. Major league sports make most of their money from rights payments not from the gate.

annonymouse (profile) says:

The issue of having a short rotation of ads as well as more ads per hour is both annoying and glaringly obvious on cable where the provider inserts their ads over the original broadcast and more times than not runs over the show itself.
Unfortunately I have the added issue of some whohaa creating massive interference to the broadcast signals during prime time.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Advertisers are like whining children in a supermarket

Advertisers are like whining children in a supermarket. The difference is that children stop whining.

Advertising doesn’t have to be like whining children (anywhere). Our problem with advertising is they dumb their message down hoping it’ll hit common denominator level; not pissing off too many while still attempting to hammer their message through five inch thick skulls. They fail miserably at both. European ads used to be offered up as the right way to do it (I don’t know if this is still true). I remember going to theaters to see movies which were compilations of the year’s best European ads, and they were quite entertaining. I’d watch John Cleese hawking boner pills any day.

On your second point, no they don’t. They just grow up to be adult whiners, as this story demonstrates. FFS, NFL is crap any way you get it. The ads just make it even crappier. Complaining about how the NFL chooses (deigns) to feed your foolish addiction is the worst sort of whining. Kick the habit already. Find something better to do, whether that’s play a cd or dvd, read a book, or chat with the wife and kids. All would be a far better thing to spend your time on than professional sports programming. They all suck all over in multitudinous ways.

J says:

It isn't just sports streams

I’m reminded of a time that Hulu’s demographic targeting got confused and decided I *really* needed to join the Navy to pay for college. It played the same Navy ad 3 times in a row (and then tried to get me to “Go Army”)….

Particularly ironic was this was after I defended my PhD, part of which was paid for by grants from the ONR (

gorokuwireless (profile) says:

fox sports go roku activate and get hold of the replays and live shows right from the field. Of course, you wouldn’t miss your favorite sports goals and can bring all the shows right from the field on 1080p. Get all the fun of Fox Sports subsidiaries in a single hub where you can all the tournaments from, for more information call at +1-866-991-0490 or visit here

JoshuvaRobinson (profile) says:

How to Activate Fox Sports Go on Roku?

Do not miss the most entertaining shows on Fox Sports Go channel if you love sports. Complete the Roku device setup, if the device is new. Set the language and display. Link your device to the Roku account. visit the category, sports for adding the channel. Once if you collect the code, use the page,, to complete the process. Do you need any assistance, dial the toll-free number listed on our page or visit us on

JoshuvaRobinson (profile) says:

Kodak Verite 50 Eco Driver Download

The Kodak Verite 50 Eco printer driver can be downloaded from its website. Firstly, Visit the Kodak website and choose the Downloads tab. Now, you need to choose the model number of the printer and then select the PC drivers and software section. Click the Download button, but before that, make sure to choose your operating system. Check Whether you are downloading the latest version of the software. Go ahead with the on-screen instructions to install the driver. You can find separate instructions for both Mac and Windows operating systems.For more information regarding Kodak Verite 50 Eco Driver Download, you can call our technical team or visit us on

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...