Super Bowl host cities are usually flooded with outdoor advertising that leads to the big game. This year, however, the OOH advertising for the Super Bowl 55 host city of Tampa could look different as rising Covid-19 numbers are likely to result in a significant drop in attendance.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league plans to ensure as many fans as possible for the February 7 event, but the capacity numbers – and who exactly will be invited – are still up in the air.
A representative from Outfront Media's Tampa Bay outpost, which operates more than 1,800 digital and static billboards in the area, said OOH advertisers are adopting a wait and see attitude. "We have had a lot of inquiries and are expecting some last-minute purchases based on attendance guidelines set by the NFL," said the representative.
Opinion on OOH seems divided
Rick Robinson, CSO at outdoor agency Billups, said the pandemic will likely result in less OOH advertising around the Super Bowl than in a typical year, but wanting to "be there" means brands are finding ways , to get involved.
"The context will feel different as there are fewer NFL executives, former players and company types floating around in the game," he said.
Mariana Skeadas, local activation director at the independent media agency Noble People, said the pandemic did not affect OOH in Tampa as much as it would have been expected.
"Many of the traditional advertisers and categories – such as alcohol, WiFi, automotive – are returning this year despite the uniqueness of the event," she said. "Tampa is largely" open "so while there is limited capacity of fans in the game itself and inbound traffic to the market, the area's outdoor inventory is still above average. ”
Regarding where consumers are likely to see advertisements, the Outfront representative stated that the NFL has established two clean zones: one around centrally located Raymond James Stadium and another that spans most of downtown Tampa in of which most of the events will take place before the game. The representative said vendors wishing to operate within a zone will need permission from the NFL and the City of Tampa to advertise anything related to the event.
“Clean zones prevent companies from selling unlicensed NFL equipment. But this also means that local restaurants and businesses in clean zones have to apply for a special usage permit in order to benefit from the Super Bowl, ”said the representative. “Anything posted on signs, tents, walls, or anywhere in the city within a zone is regulated by the NFL. It basically protects fans from purchasing unlicensed equipment, regulates the activities and monitors all advertisements near the game and its events. "
Local advertisements could be in the spotlight
Anna Bager, President and CEO of the American Out of Home Advertising Association, said the local OOH media had been an integral part of the pandemic and would play an important role in the 2021 Super Bowl.
"While national brands will be present at the game, it will be local advertisers who will increase their share of the vote during the Super Bowl," said Bager. “Local restaurants and establishments strive to reach out to Tampa Bay area soccer fans and those who drive to the market to take part in the outdoor activities and events that take place in the Florida sunshine. As a result, traditional motorway bulletins and digital formats have the largest bookings. "
Outdoor advertisers also need to consider who may be in attendance as the exact number of regular fans, as well as the NFL executives and players, remains uncertain.