From Matildas Fever To An Ice-Cold English Cricket Team: These Are B&T’s Biggest Sporting Moments Of 2023

From Matildas Fever To An Ice-Cold English Cricket Team: These Are B&T’s Biggest Sporting Moments Of 2023

Major sporting events are a massive opportunity for brands. Between advertising, sponsorship and endorsements, these deals rake in millions of dollars for brands.

This year was no exception, with several major sporting events making way for advertisers and brands to jump on board trends, slapping their logos on just about anything they could afford. 

However, this year, a massive shift in the advertising landscape for live sports has occurred. It is estimated that more than 250 million dollars is spent each year on sports betting advertising in Australia by an estimated 77 companies and 140 websites, with several large bodies calling for the removal of betting and alcohol advertising during major sporting events.

B&T has put together the top sporting moments of 2023; these are the moments that saw the largest revenue, the most extensive viewership and the most significant opportunity for brand awareness!

Women’s World Cup:

July marked the beginning of the Women’s World Cup, and thus began Matilda’s fever. From local pubs to international sports bars, Matilda’s games were watched by up to 11 million people, with stadiums selling out and merch flying off the shelves. It would be next to impossible to find an Australian who doesn’t remember where they were during that epic 20-penalty shootout that raised more heart rates than the entire A-League season. 

The players reached icon status in no time, with social media followership soaring and fans going out of their way to find specific player kits. What followed was a golden opportunity for advertisers who quickly answered the call. Matilda’s superstars quickly became in-demand partners for campaigns for everything from finance and telecommunications to sports and hygiene brands. 

One of the most successful ads was from Uber and the Red Cross, which saw Sam Kerr donate to the Australian Red Cross to raise funds for vulnerable communities. The campaign went on to be named B&T’s Campaign of the Month for October.

Leaving The Crease:

When England’s wicketkeeper, Jonny Bairstow, stepped out of his crease, leading to a critical wicket in the last game of the 2023 ashes, an age-old rivalry was reignited. The crucial error united two separate countries in their mutual disdain for one another and led to outcries from cricket fans and non-fans alike. ‘Stumpgate’ quickly became the most talked about cricket moment in recent memory. 

While Australians and the English squabbled about the fairness of the play, some advertisers saw an opportunity to increase brand awareness internationally. One stand-out campaign from the time was created by The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song for VB. After the English team turned down the tradition of having a post-match beer with the Aussies, VB responded with a PR stunt that will go down in the history books; VB and The Monkeys created “England Bitter”, a beer to match the bitterness of an entire nation. Within 48 hours, they had shipped a warm slab of “England Bitter” directly to the English team’s dressing rooms in Leeds, addressed directly to Ben Stokes and his bitter mates. The PR response was immediate, with all major news outlets in Australia picking up the story. The PR campaign was a winner for The Monkeys, achieving Best PR Campaign at the 2023 B&T awards. 

NRL GRAND FINAL:

From the moment Penrith Panthers finished their 2022 season on a record win, talk commenced on whether they could go again, and suddenly, the term “three-peat” began to dominate media coverage nationwide. Twelve months later, much to the disgust of Brisbane Broncos fans everywhere, the Penrith Panthers did the unthinkable: a third straight NRL premiership win. The iconic win broke a 40-year record with rivals the Parramatta Eels, the last to achieve the three-peat back in 1983 when the NSWRL still administered the competition.

The grand final, which saw the Penrith Panthers snatch victory from the Brisbane Broncos with just minutes to go, pulled 72 per cent of its metro audience from the two cities. The audience in Brisbane, meanwhile, represented an increase of 78 per cent on last year’s 232,000, with the city having a vested interest in the game. 

The Women’s Grand Final also saw considerable audiences in a massive shift in the sporting landscape. The event recorded the highest ever Live BVOD audience for a women’s Rugby League match and, off the back of a massive year for women’s sport, was up 62% on the 2022 NRLW Grand Final.

Melbourne Cup:

On Tuesday, November 3rd, the race that stops the nation did precisely that with millions putting work aside to watch as Without A Fight raced his way into the history books. 

Despite thousands of Australians saying “nup to the cup”, the Melbourne Cup was still a ratings winner for Network 10, pulling in more than 1.1 million metro views. The meeting itself attracted a crowd of 84,492, the biggest attendance for the meeting since 2017 and an increase of 14.5 per cent from last year.

This year, ARN renewed its partnership with Victoria Racing Club (VRC), which saw its suite of brands, play critical roles in activating and supporting the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival. The general admission zone, The Park, featured several activations, including Penfolds Rose and Croquet playing field, Furphy Container and Beer Truck, Smirnoff pop-up bar, a Coffee Caravan serving St Remio coffee and the TAB Lobby.

Penfolds Rose and Croquet playing field at the 2023 Melbourne Cup

Cricket World Cup

If there is one thing Australians love more than a huge international sporting event, it is winning a huge international sporting event. And on Sunday 19th November, we did just that, defeating the Indian cricket team by six wickets to win the ICC World Cup. 

The final game was a ratings win for Channel Nine, with over a million viewers and a primary share of 40.2%. During the five-week campaign, the ICC World Cup’23 witnessed an indexed growth of 17% from all matches in terms of average ad volumes per match compared to ICC World Cup’19, according to the TAM Sports Commercial Advertising Report. The number of brands advertising during the event grew extensively to more than 225 compared to more than 170 in 2019.

AFL Finals series

As usual, the AFL Finals series was a widely watched affair, but this year, something a little bit different happened; with two Sydney teams and a Queensland team making it to the finals, viewership saw an increase. This year’s AFL Finals series viewership was up 16% from 2022, while both preliminary finals had audiences of over 2 million each.

During the Grand Final showdown between Brisbane Lions and Collingwood Magpies, spectators had the chance to witness a massive staged advertising campaign and stunt from OMD and AAMI.  AFL fans watched giant screens at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and TVs across the country, where an ad showed an all-star cast kick and pass a missing match football through a series of imagined scenes to return it to the game safely. The ad campaign then transitioned from screen to the live match, as the well-known “AAMI girl” delivered the football after the staged bungle threatened its arrival at the stadium. 




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