- Lexus, Snickers and Universal Pictures are among the major brands that are sponsoring Yahoo Sports' Fantasy Football game as the National Football League's regular season opens. Yahoo's parent company Oath said 92% of fantasy sports interactions happen on mobile platforms, a 263% jump since 2016, according to a blog post.
- Lexus next month will have a custom takeover of Yahoo Sports' new show "The Spin" with video ads running alongside other programs. Mars candy brand Snickers will sponsor the show "Off Your Game" that features Yahoo Sports experts discussing fantasy football draft strategies.
- Universal is promoting the soon-to-be released comedy film "Night School" with a dedicated Yahoo Sports Fantasy league that the film's cast, including stars Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, will play in throughout the 16-game season. Fans can play Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football online or with its free apps for iOS and Android.
Fantasy sports data highlight the importance of mobile marketing in reaching a highly engaged audience with very favorable demographic qualities. That engagement is what is helping Yahoo Sports attract big brands like Lexus, Universal Pictures and Snickers even as advertisers predict the TV audience for football may reverse the downward trend of the past two years, per Variety. Oath is touting a variety of ad formats to reach this highly engaged audience, including mobile wallet and live video placements. The company says that one-third of fantasy football players are women, a key target audience for brands given women's strong influence on household purchase decisions.
About 59.3 million people in the United States and Canada played some kind of fantasy sports last year, up from an estimated 19.4 million in 2007, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FTSA). The percentage of fantasy sports players who use a mobile device for league activities grew to 39% last year from 25% in 2012. Those activities include checking scores, doing research, posting comments or listening to radio shows about fantasy leagues. About two-thirds (64%) of fantasy league players say they watch more sports and 61% read more about sports because of their participation in a fantasy league. The average age of a fantasy sports player is 32, which means they tend to be younger than the median age for viewers of most televised sports.
Fantasy football is making its way onto voice-enabled devices, too. CBS Sports last month released a Google Assistant action to help fans pick players in fantasy drafts. Next month, CBS Fantasy Sports will add features to let players check scores, evaluate trades and get personalized answers to questions, per Digiday.