You May Start Seeing More Political Ads While Watching Baseball

Miami’s Marlins Park, a soaring Art Deco baseball emporium, was the 19th ballpark built by Populous.
Photograph by Christoph Morlinghaus for Fortune Magazine

With Major League Baseball season under way, don’t be surprised to see a sudden influx of political ads while you watch your favorite team up at bat on TV.

Fox Sports, the sports broadcasting arm of parent company 21st Century Fox (FOX), is looking to tap into the campaigns of current presidential candidates and super-PACS for ads during baseball games, reported Bloomberg.

The reason is simple: with primaries still being held, and with both parties still unable to cement a front-runner, there’s money to made from the estimated-$4.4 billion that will be spent by political-affiliated groups during election season.

The demographic that tune into sporting events are also key: researchers have found that viewers of local sports tend to be undecided voters, and 2.5 times more likely to trust candidates whose ads appear during games. “It’s an untapped resource,” Brent McGoldrick, Deep Root’s CEO, told Bloomberg.



Fox Sports, which is in the midst of an eight-year broadcasting contract with MLB, sells ads for a group of about 40 regional sports channels across the country. With baseball season peaking in October—right in the midst of the presidential elections—the network will be trying to gain a share of the political ad media buying-pie, which usually gravitates towards news-dominated channels.

Already, according to Bloomberg, the Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcast of the Milwaukee Brewers’ opening game against the San Francisco Giants was filled with ads for Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. Home Team Sports, the Fox-owned ad sales group, sold five times more political ads for February’s Super Tuesday primaries than it did four years ago, and 10 times more political ads from July to December of last year than four years ago, reported Sports Business Daily.

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