Digital Audio

Off-Season No More: How Audio Makes Sports Advertising a Year-Round Strategy

Feb 16, 2023

When it comes to sports advertising, audio always wins.

Superbowl Sunday, March Madness, Nascar Cup Series…for sports fans across the globe, these events are like Christmas. They eagerly wait for their favorite competitions and soak up every minute they can. But when it’s all over, what happens? 

The advent of audio streaming and platforms has wildly changed the playing field for sports fans of all walks of life. With always-on content and intimate connections to the teams, players, and personalities they love most, audio provides an all-access pass to life both on and off the field. The result is year-round engagement, with peaks both on- and off-season.

This new way of engaging with content opens up a whole new world of opportunities for brands looking to connect with consumers via sports advertising. SXM Media’s 2021 Sports Soundboard Study breaks down what you need to know about how these fans are bringing together audio and sports to transform the world we know and love so much.

During the On-Season

Music Drives the Event Experience

When the athletes are on the field (or the court, the track, or wherever else), audio remains a major player. Music helps enhance the sports experience (two in five fans agree)1, from heading to the event, to grilling at a tailgate, to watching from the comfort of their own homes. 

Here’s how they’re engaging:

  • Seven in 10 sports fans listen to music during any sports activity

  • Half of sports fans listen to audio on the way to a live game

  • Two in five fans listen to audio while tailgating 

  • Over one in four fans listen to audio while hosting or attending live viewing parties

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No matter the location or the event, consumers are plugging in and turning up to their favorite sounds while they enjoy the hype of the sports season. For advertisers, this type of audio takeover offers a major opportunity to stay connected to their target audience through every stage of the experience.

After the Final Buzzer

Any true sports fan knows that during the on-season, the hype doesn’t stop once the clock runs out. Instead, the end of the game signals the beginning of a new type of content consumption. Once they leave the stadium or turn of the TV, enthusiasts plug in their headphones or turn on their car speakers to tune into sports podcasts or talk radio for:

  • Jaw-dropping game highlights

  • Breaking news stories

  • Exclusive interviews with athletes, coaches, and front-office personnel

Knowing when and where your target audience is tuning in is key to winning your advertising play. Placing your brand’s message in contextually relevant spots and catching your listeners in the right headspace helps drive home sales and elevate brand perception.

Go Big or Go Home

Fans are also using audio to win big—big cash, that is. One in four SXM Media listeners say they participate in sports betting at least once a month.1 With the legalization of sports betting happening across the country, fans are turning to audio for game-time analysis and pre-season drafts to inform smart investments.

And let’s not forget about fantasy sports. One in four sports fans have participated in fantasy sports over the past few years, and these enthusiasts often look to audio to help them make smart plays. Podcasts and radio shows that offer fantasy sports advice and tips are the perfect setting for advertisers looking to appeal to these crowds.

And here’s a bonus tip: our study found that, when it comes to choosing a sports betting platform, 45% of these consumers prioritize ease of use, so be sure to highlight that in your ad creative.

During the Off-Season

Give 'em the (Official) Goods

When the stadiums close and the jerseys are packed up, the engagement doesn’t stop for the modern-day sports enthusiast. During the off-season, these megafans continue to seek out their sports fix, with 65% saying they want some form of content at least once a month and 95% saying they have some type of interaction with their favorite teams at least once a month.2 To satisfy these needs, they turn to audio.

But fans don’t just want any old commentary or coverage. They want the real deal, with voices and affiliations they know and trust. And with 60% of SXM Media listeners classifying themselves as “superfans,” it’s important our network delivers on their expectations.

And deliver we do—our impressive roster of official league partnerships runs the gamut, from the NFL to the NBA. We’ve also got partnerships with networks sports fans know and love, from Fox to ESPN.

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Tuning Into Trusted Voices

While official affiliations and professional shows have a special place in sports fans’ hearts, there’s also a level of intimacy and personal connection they’re craving. That’s where podcasts come in. The growing popularity of this audio medium has been a major gamechanger in the way sports fans engage with their favorite influencers and personalities, allowing them to continue maintaining connections well after seasons end. 

And when it comes to talent, we’ve got some big names in our network: Tom Brady, Chris Jericho, and Hope Solo, just to name a few.

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The good news for advertisers here is that these trusted voices can help connect you to potential customers. Working with reputable sports talk talent helps raise engagement levels and brand exposure within the sports enthusiasts world. Over one in three fans say they enjoy seeing their favorite athletes in advertisements, making host-read ads on relevant shows a must.

When you pair your advertisements with talent and influencers that are contextually relevant, it's like scoring a touchdown in marketing; it makes an impression and enables brands to connect with their target markets in settings that are incredibly realistic.

Add Audio to Your Sports Sponsorships

SXM Media’s sports content gives brands the opportunity to connect to sports fans on a deeper level. From live talks and pre/post game content to listener conversations and in-depth analysis, we’ve got the ecosystem and solution to help you score a home run. Interested in advertising on one of our sports shows? Let's chat.


1. Pandora Soundboard, 2021 Sports Study, September 2021

2. Deloitte, Engaging With Sports Fans Year-Round

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