Weather skews Grey Cup sponsor visibility: study

Is a buy in the end-zone a guarantee of visibility? Elevent's data shows weather plays a role for those relying on being seen.
Argos Snow

An unexpectedly snowy Sunday night took a toll on Grey Cup sponsors’ visibility during the game, according to sponsorship marketing firm Elevent.

Using its proprietary algorithms, Elevent timed how long sponsors were visible during the recent Grey Cup broadcast (which saw a major lift in its average audience this year) and how prominent the visuals were, creating an overall visibility score.

The score is first determined by how much screen time a sponsor’s visuals received out of the entire broadcast, then factored in other elements such as prominence of screen placement and whether or not it was obscured.

But the results for the Grey Cup Finals, which saw the field at TD Place Stadium covered in snow, meant lower visibility compared to a typical game, said Elevent co-founder Francis Dumais.

While CP took in a score of 46.73% visibility (the sponsor’s placements included a field logo at TD Place Stadium, shirt logos and on light-up displays) and Sun Life Financial pulled off 45.79% (shirt logo and LED placement), most other sponsors registered relatively low on visibility.

Adidas, with glove and shirt logos, scored 5.13%, and Tim Horton’s, despite four visible displays, scored 0.67%. The next six in-stadium sponsors all scored 0.32% or lower.

This was a stark contrast to Elevent’s visibility scores from the final playoff games before the Grey Cup, which he said were much more “normal” results. The lowest top 10 score in those games was 2.52% (for Kubota, which had both a field logo and end zone logo) and the median score of the top 10 in-stadium sponsors was 6.5%. CP earned 33.99% for those games.

Dumais said that the snow, which covered logos and boards and at times obstructed the on-screen clarity, was definitely a factor. He told MiC there is always a certain element of risk involved in the sponsorship, “but normally not as high as we saw last Sunday… the field [was] a total wash from a branding perspective.”

Matthew Logue, chief operating officer at MKTG Sponsorships, which specializes in sports sponsorships, told MiC that sponsors need to look beyond just visibility at events like the Grey Cup for real sponsorship value.

“Brands rarely get what they’re looking for based on exposure,” he said. “You shouldn’t just put your logo on the sidelines. The brands that typically win the day are the ones that use the rights beyond visibility.”

Elevent’s calculations show that the top-three most efficient purchases in terms of exposure during the quarter-finals were a field template (63.75%), shirt logo (28.87%) and end zone sponsorship (3.49%). The most efficient three during the Grey Cup final were the shirt logo (97.12%), end zone sponsorship (1.41%) and LED visibility (0.71%).