As sports junkies and advertisers alike countdown to watch the Chicago Bears take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI on February 4th, CBS SportsLine is preparing its own online coverage of not only the play-by-play, but the ads that are set to be broadcasted.
CBS SportsLine, through its relationship with parent company CBS which is televising the big game, will make all the broadcast ads available on its site following each quarter of play. Separately, CBS distribution partner YouTube is currently running a contest allowing the winner to have a video clip played during the Superbowl.
YouTube also intends to make all the ads available for users to watch and vote on, while AOL will rerun the ads, and run its fifth annual Super Sunday Ad Poll at AOL Sports with a similar viewing and voting approach.
The re-broadcast of Super Bowl advertisements by CBS Sportsline and others is more than a way to share ads; it’s an opportunity to reach a broader audience. According to a 2006 comScore survey, 46 percent of respondents said watching the game was their main reason for tuning in, while 26 percent said they were watching the ads.
“There is a traditional sports consumer that you can think of as male in his 30s that watches a lot of sports and teams, but then there is the Super Bowl audience that reaches a much larger demographic. SportsLine is making a thrust to reach more consumers,” said Patrick Herde, director of product management and marketing for CBS SportsLine. “We think of hosting Super Bowl ads on CBS SportsLine as a way of offering an enticement to our non-traditional audience and exposing them to other things that SportsLine has to offer.”
In addition to re-broadcasting the Superbowl ads, the company is creating online-only content covering the lead-up to the Superbowl. Titled “Cadillac Countdown to Super Bowl,” the 30-minute video programs will be shot on location in Miami and feature input from NFL analysts, players and commentators. The show will be recorded and then broadcast on the same day, and will include advertiser product placement. Cadillac also sponsored CBS SportsLine coverage last year.
“This is all original stuff that will be shot live starting next Wednesday and will be up on the site 3 hours later,” said Herde. “We’re able to create some really interesting opportunities for our sponsors that want to partner with us on our online content.”
Beyond video content, CBS SportsLine hopes to bring new viewers to other interactive features which will be promoted alongside the Superbowl ads online. These include fantasy football and baseball games, a trivia game, and a “GameCenter” which follows the play-by-play action online and includes Game and Blog commentary on a “glog.”
CBS SportsLine newsroom staff will comment on the game there, but will soon allow popular users to post during March Madness basketball coverage. The firm is utilizing a reputation engine to track its users “reputations” based on fantasy game scores and message board posts. The highest ranking users will be given the opportunity to post their thoughts to the glog just as staff members can.
“It’s one thing to have some free for all where there is no management and users can post whatever they want,” said Herde. “It’s another thing to have our users tell us who the best members of our community are.”
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