The Ashes Measurement Report
Despite the fact the Ashes is contested by only two countries, around 61.5 million people across 85 countries were exposed to news stories about the series.
In terms of media “intensity”, the Ashes compared favourably to other sporting events this summer, beaten only by Wimbledon and The Cricket World Cup.
However, the Ashes is a far less cluttered environment in terms of sponsors vying for attention (just three main ones) compared to 11 for the above events.
The average UK audience per match day across attendees and broadcast (Sky and Channel 5) was around 1.3 million.
Sky Sports (the domestic broadcaster) was the most prolific publication to cover the event from a news perspective, however, the tabloids’ prevalence over the broadsheets contrasts with cricket’s usual audience, indicating how England’s World Cup success prior to the Ashes has widened cricket’s appeal.
Of the three sponsors, NatWest achieved the most exposure in the media, followed by Qantas and Specsavers. Over 93% of this exposure was image-based.
Total sponsor exposure was relatively evenly split – in stark contrast to most of the seven major events earlier in the summer.
However, Specsavers (having naming rights to the series) dominated text/audio mentions in the media (73%).
NatWest’s image exposure via the England shirts contributed to them achieving the highest media reach and value (£3.5m) ahead of Specsavers (£3.1m) and Qantas (£2.9m).
Qantas scored the most social media coverage from the official rights holders due to Cricket Australia posting more images of their players than the ECB.
The ECB delivered around £950k worth of social media promotions to each of Specsavers and NatWest, whilst Cricket Australia delivered £740k to Qantas.
Rights holder posts generated 11x the engagement rates than the sponsor’s own, illustrating the power of sponsorship to connect with fans.
Consequently, The ECB delivered around £660k worth of social media engagement to Specsavers, whilst CA delivered around £51k to Qantas.
Specsavers was by far the most engaging sponsor when it came to social media text mentions (accounting for 96% of engagements). This was a combination of having naming rights to the series but also the much larger effort the brand clearly put into the medium.
The surprising absence of text mentions by the ECB for NatWest and the low amount of posts by CA for Qantas show how much value can be left on the table by rights holders through not promoting sponsors enough on social media – one of the easiest activations they can employ.
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