Monday, March 4, 2024

The Evolution of In-Stadium Advertising Technology

There is nothing like catching a game in person. While many sports fans are content to sit in their home and watch the big game on the television, some fans would rather pay scalper prices to see it in person. It is exciting to experience the roar of the crowd and the tension between the two teams in real-time.

Of course, this also makes the stadium a great place to advertise. Stadium advertising can be effective and more effectively target audiences. Advertisements and games have existed alongside each other for centuries, from nobles sponsoring knights in jousts to today’s Super Bowl commercials. And in-stadium advertising is interesting in particular.

In-stadium technology has evolved to create something unique in the sports scene. Brands now have a lot more space for more dynamic advertisements with the invention of LED screens. However, the beginning of in-stadium advertising goes much earlier than that.

The Beginning of Stadium Advertising

Banner advertisements first began in the early twentieth century when sponsors and endorsements would hang their names on the grandstands to promote their business. Players would also wear shirts with their sponsor, further associating the team with the brands.

Of course, you can argue this connection goes back much further, as sports have always had a commercial element to them. You can even take it back to ancient Greece and their Olympics, sponsored by the city that held it in. In a way, fights such as in Greece and the ancient Roman Coliseum were held to show off the wealth and glory of the people hosting them, effectively advertising them as rulers.

However, sports advertising as we know it did not come about until the early 1960s when television was introduced to sports for the first time.

Television: The Explosion of In-Stadium Advertising

After television was introduced and sports began broadcasting on TV, in-stadium advertisements became more critical. A commercial was just one airspot, but the grandstand banner ad was much longer-lasting than a single ad spot. 

Competition over space and ad placement became more fierce, and stadiums capitalized on this by squeezing in an ad at every spot they could find. They sold spots on a by-season basis, which didn’t allow companies a lot of flexibility.

As the iconic sports we know and love evolved into what they are today, so did sports advertising. Sponsorships, freebies, T-shirt cannons, even in-person events and giveaways, companies found ways to interact with their audience on a personal level long before the first LED banner ad.

However, once LED screens came onto the stadium advertising scene, they were a game-changer.

The Modern Era: How Stadium Advertising Stays Relevant

Not as many people attend games in-person anymore. Stadium attendance has been falling, even as viewership continues to rise. So how does stadium advertising stay relevant? With the LED screen and dynamic ads.

LED screens don’t just show instant replays and highlights. They show ads visible to the entire stadium and even on the television as people watch the game. In addition, several stadiums have similar screens lining the grandstands, also showing their fair share of advertisements.

Companies can buy ad space, much like television, without purchasing spots by the season anymore. But more than that, companies can change the advertisements themselves just throughout the game.

Advertisements can rejoice with the players when the home team wins and follow the game’s flow to better target the audience. More than that, they can be updated with newer brand advertising as the season progresses, burning your brand into fans’ minds as you take that journey with them.


Stadiums can be the perfect place for marketing campaigns that focus on the sport’s fanbase, helping to connect you to a broader audience with consumers who feel connected to your brand. Dynamic ads fit right in, and they can help you build a loyal audience who feel like they have taken a journey with their favorite sports team and your company.


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