Women’s Tennis Was a Smash for Advertisers in 2023 Says EDO

Dan Meier 12 March, 2024 

Women’s tennis (Wimbledon and US Open) and basketball (WNBA and NCAA) were the top women’s sporting events for US advertisers last year, according to EDO, a TV measurement company. The data showed that the Wimbledon Semi-Finals and Finals generated the most ad engagement across women’s sport in 2023.

The firm’s inaugral Women’s Sports TV Outcomes Report charted the effectiveness of every national TV ad in the US across a range of women’s sports competitions. EDO’s outcome metrics track the behavioural engagement signals it says are most predictive of future sales. The research suggested ad effectiveness during women’s sport programming saw double-digit YoY improvement in 2023.

Tennis came top of the table for ad effectiveness, with Wimbledon and US Open matches outperforming the average primetime broadcast and cable ad by 53 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

Basketball also witnessed rapid growth last year, according to EDO. Looking at WNBA matches during 2023, ad engagement grew 7 percent YoY for the regular season, 23 percent for the Playoffs, and 30 percent for the Finals.

“Naturally, the growing interest in women’s sports presents a major opportunity for TV advertisers,” said Laura Grover, SVP, Head of Client Solutions at EDO. “After all, live sports have consistently been the TV programs most successful at driving consumers to engage with brands that advertise during them — generating key outcomes like online searches that are proven predictors of future sales.”

Slam dunk for brands

EDO additionally revealed the top 10 brands whose ads were the most effective during women’s sporting events (the figures compare the effectiveness of ads with the average women’s sports advertiser in 2023).

  1. New Balance (+203 percent)
  2. Kesimpta (+173 percent)
  3. Cadillac (+171 percent)
  4. Liberty Mutual Insurance (+134 percent)
  5. TRESemme (+128 percent)
  6. Ruffles (+125 percent)
  7. Old Spice (+172 percent)
  8. Invesco Funds Group (+116 percent)
  9. Vagisil (+96 percent)
  10. Ritz Crackers (+95 percent)

The report noted that campaigns starring women athletes performed particularly well compared to the average ad for each brand. Adidas (+69 percent), Puma (+62 percent), Nike (+16 percent) and Vuori (+8 percent) all outperformed their average campaign by featuring women athletes last year.

Individual atheletes were also shown to drive ad engagement. According to EDO, NCAA basketball games featuring University of Iowa star Caitlin Clark outperformed games without her by 7 percent. Clark has appeared in six ads for the insurance company State Farm since November 2023. The report said her ads are 46 percent more likely to generate engagement than the average State Farm ad.

But EDO further observed that male-centric advertisers were seeing inreased engagement from women’s sport. During WNBA matches, Bosley Hair Restoration, Old Spice, and Hims outperformed the average WNBA advertiser by 341 percent, 134 percent, and 51 percent, respectively.

“Women athletes like Coco Gauff and Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark are powerful brand representatives during the ad breaks, delivering strong results for brands like New Balance, State Farm, and more,” said Laura Grover. “As women’s sports continue to gain popularity, this opportunity will only grow more appealing for advertisers.”

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