By Barry Janoff
January 13, 2015: When AT&T in 2013 acquired naming rights to Cowboys Stadium in a 20-year deal valued at $19 million annually, the telecommunications firm planned to see some ROI via events in the venue that would have major national, if not international, exposure.
AT&T got a nice chunk of media value change — more than $46.7 million — Monday night (Jan. 12) during the ESPN telecast of the college football National Championship Game won by Ohio State, according to Front Row Analytics, the numbers-crunching division of Front Row Marketing Services.
Not only was the game played in AT&T Stadium but it was presented by AT&T. In addition to its name in various spots on the outside of the stadium that is home to the NFL's Cowboys, the firm had signage within the venue that were seen on-air before, during and after the game.
The total of $46,745,277 in media value attributed to AT&T by Front Row Analytics included interior and exterior signage, coaches headsets and on-air graphics, text and verbal mentions.
It did not include additional value from TV spots that AT&T aired during the game, which included commercials that featured former college and NFL stars Joe Montana (pictured), Bo Jackson, Doug Flutie and Herschel Walker.
Front Row Marketing Services, a division of Comcast-Spectacor, said it based media value on the cost of a 30-second spot on ESPN, which was going for upward of $1 million, according to industry analysts.
AT&T is an official "corporate champion" partner of the NCAA along with Capital One and Coca-Cola.
According to ESPN, Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon generated an 18.2 U.S. household rating, the highest metered market ever for ESPN. The National Championship game number was a 21% increase over the 2014 BCS National Championship on ESPN (Florida State vs. Auburn, 15.3) and also topped the 16.1 overnight rating for the 2011 National Championship (Auburn vs. Oregon), which held the previous best in cable history.
The first National Championship Game under the new College Football Playoff system attracted 33.4 million viewers on ESPN and a total of 34 million when adding in ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes and ESPNews, also a new high for the Disney-owned cable network.
And that's not counting the 85,689 fans plus countless others who were in AT&T Stadium.
“The inaugural College Football Playoff was a resounding success by all measures,” John Skipper, ESPN president, said in a statement. “Fans responded in record numbers across television and digital platforms. It’s been a great first year and we look forward to the opportunity to build upon the excitement as we continue our long-term commitment to this tremendous event.”
AT&T activations were present in the days leading up to the game, which added to the firm's overall value during the championship event.
From Jan. 9-12, AT&T hosted in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center "Playoff Fan Central," which included events, games, autograph sessions with former players and social media interaction. On Jan. 10 and Jan. 11, in American Airlines Center, " AT&T Playoff Playlist Live" concerts were headlined by Lenny Kravitz and Sting.
AT&T was not alone in seeing a nice media value return on their respective investments.
Buick totaled some $8.9 million in broadcast value due to its presence during the game's halftime show.
The total of $46,745,277 in media value attributed to AT&T included interior and exterior signage, coaches headsets and on-air graphics, text and verbal mentions.
Nike received more than $6 million in media value as the apparel partner for both Ohio State and Oregon. Front Row Analytics said the value would have been higher "if [Ohio State head coach] Urban Meyer had worn a Nike hat, as [Oreghon head coach] Mark Helfrich did."
Under Armour had more than $3.6 million in value from having its logo on referee hats
Allstate garnered some $2 million via its presence on the upright goal nets.
Gatorade had about $1.2 million from its presence during the game.
And last but not least, FarmersOnly.com, an online dating service targeting "farmers, ranchers and people living in rural areas of the U.S. and Canada," received $583,333 in value thanks to a fan who held up a sign during a halftime segment with Jimmy Kimmel that read, “Urban Meyer met his wife on FarmersOnly."
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