In past years, I’ve discussed BT Sport’s gradual journey from new challenger to a genuine force in televised sports.
As the new football season starts, it’s a good time to look at how Sky Sports, its principal rival, has adapted its campaigns and messaging in an attempt to dissuade subscribers migrating to BT.
Once again, the advertising battle between the two broadcasters began several weeks before kick-off.
BT Sport’s multi-channel campaign has emphasised that it is the sole broadcaster to show both Champions League and Premier League football. Sky Sports has turned to David Beckham to give its own effort a touch of stardom, while focussing on its dominant position when it comes to broadcasting domestic competition.
But which campaign has resonated best with the public? YouGov’s BrandIndex data indicates that Sky has had the upper hand.
Among all respondents, its Ad Awareness score (whether they have seen a brand’s advert in the past two weeks) peaked at 17% before the start of the season, compared to 14% for BT Sport. Although both brands have seen their scores rise by over five points in a month.
Sky are also winning the battle among football fans. The scores are more marked among this group as we might expect; currently, Sky Sports score is 25% against BT Sport’s 21%
This marks a turnaround for Sky Sports. At the same point last year it lagged behind in the battle for advert supremacy.
Our data shows that BT Sport still has reason to be optimistic, though. Its Value score among all respondents is healthier than Sky’s (although both brands show negative ratings on this metric). BT Sport’s score currently shows -4.7, against -15.2 for Sky Sports. Perhaps more matches, doesn’t automatically mean greater value for potential subscribers.
Sky does still does have a way to go to reassert itself as the undisputed sector leader. In the past, competition fall away as Sky used its financial muscle and history to dominate. BT Sport isn’t going away any time soon though, and the competition will continue, not just in the ad world.