As sports fans gather around the TV for Super Bowl 2014 this weekend, consumers with zero interest in football may be sitting down with them. Why? The commercials. Advertisers are shelling out big bucks to FOX to reach such viewers—according to Kantar Media, a 30-second ad unit during the event last year cost $4.0 million.
However, they may also benefit from running ads on digital sites during or around the big game—specifically, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports/NBC Sports.
An analysis of comScore Multi-Platform data conducted by ESPN Research & Analytics found that those two sites were the No. 1 and No. 2 digital sports properties among US internet users, respectively. According to the October 2013 study, ESPN had 67.7 million unique visitors and a 34.4% share of the category audience, followed by Yahoo! Sports/NBC Sports, which had 57.4 million visitors and a 16.8% share.
When it came to the average amount of time users spent on each site, ESPN placed first again—120.6 minutes per user. But while Yahoo! Sports/NBC Sports took the No. 2 spot here as well, with 69.5 minutes of each user’s time, the NFL Internet Group, which ranked sixth in terms of unique users (34.6 million), boasted nearly the same amount (69.2 minutes). Several other sites with low unique visitor counts claimed more of each visitor’s time.
These results indicate that advertisers may see better luck by focusing on sites that lure in visitors—likely loyal fans—for more minutes. The more time spent with the site, the more likely users are to actually see the ads.