Touchdown! Score Big with a CPG Marketing Strategy That Targets Football Fans in Rural Markets

The college football season is upon us, and the CPG marketing opportunity to reach fans in underserved rural markets is enormous. Fans will be gathering for watch parties to “tailgate at home” as they cheer for their favorite teams.

Just how big is the football season opportunity for CPG brands?

  • There are more college sports fans in the U.S. than there are fans of any professional league.
  • 56% of U.S. adults consider themselves college football fans.
  • 42% of college football fans are women and are in the high-value 35 to 54 age group.
  • While 47.5 million Americans attend college games in person each year, more than 145 million watch games on TV.
  • College Bowl games average over 5 million TV viewers per game, and the College Playoff Games draw an incredible 21.4 million fans.

College Football and the Rural Consumer

College Football is KING in the rural markets Mspark Serves. Our coverage area includes the SEC (Southeastern Conference), which has led the country in college football viewing for 24 consecutive seasons.

  • College football fans in Mspark’s coverage area by conference, according to Knight Commission and NCAA 2022:
    • SEC 54.1 million
    • Big Ten 44.6 million
    • ACC 31.7 million
    • Big 12 11.6 million

That’s a total of 142 MILLION college football fans in the markets Mspark serves.

  • The Top 16 college football team fan bases account for 50% of all fans. Fourteen of these teams are located in the Mspark coverage area.

Football Fans and Food for the Win

Tailgating means FOOD: hot wings, nuggets, sliders, chips, queso, ranch, nuts, and don’t forget sodas and adult beverages. No game or watch party is complete without it!

  • 70% of football fans plan to buy snack foods for game watching, and 52% of them are willing to pay more for higher quality items
  • 35% of football fans spend $35 to $50 on food for at-home game watching; 27% spend $15 to $30 on snacks.

Win the Race for Sales with a Coordinated Multichannel Approach in Rural Markets

We understand how to reach college football fans in our markets through a coordinated marketing strategy that includes direct mail as well as digital touch points.

College football fans have responded to ads across a variety of media types and channels in the past 12 months:

  • 57% have responded to ads/offers in the mailbox
  • 48% have responded to a streaming TV ad and 44% to a pre-roll video ad
  • 45% have responded to an online ad

Digital alone is not the answer. When your advertising campaigns are anchored by direct mail, purchase intent increases 175% compared to digital-only campaigns.

  • Print drives 11% purchase intent compared to only 4% with digital alone.
  • When paired strategically, direct mail and digital campaigns lift response rates up to 118% and conversion rates by up to 28%.

Don’t Miss Out on Key Opportunities – Start Today!

Now is the time to plan a strategy to keep your CPG brand top of mind as hungry football fans plan their tailgate parties and build their shopping lists. The season is long, but the days are short.

  • Eleven Conference Championships will be played December 2nd and 3rd.
  • A record number of bowl games—41—will start December 16th and will conclude with the National Championship Game on January 9th, 2023.

Don’t miss out on these opportunities to get your brands on the tables and in the hands of college football fans as they cheer for their favorite teams. Download our Grocery eBook, and reach out today to plan your strategy.

SOURCES: National Football Foundation 2020 / Learfield 2021 / Knight Commission & NCAA 2022; Prosper Insights & Analytics 2022 / AdMall 2022 / IRI 2021 / PredictHQ 2021 / Reddit 2022 / Millward Brown Print Campaign Analysis / Simplifi