Fox Debuts Local Ad Insertion in Live Super Bowl LI Stream

Super Bowl LI will stream live online for free but with insertion of local ads for the first time. The ads will be dynamically inserted based on where a viewer is watching the NFL’s championship contest.

The live, non-authenticated (free) stream will be offered on Fox Sports GO, the network’s live-streaming platform using iOS, Android, Windows, and Amazon tablets or through connected devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, and Xbox One.

“As part of the buildup to this year’s Super Bowl, we’re committed to creating the best possible experience for fans by dramatically expanding the ways and places in which they can watch the game,” says Fox Sports President/COO/Executive Producer Eric Shanks. “Our pioneering collaboration with our affiliates to allow streaming local ad insertions will make commercials even more relevant for viewers and help make this year’s game even more of a personal experience for every fan.”

More than 170 Fox affiliates around the country will partner with Fox to program local digital ads. Participating affiliates will have access to the same ad inventory for both the linear and the digital broadcasts of the game.

Nexstar Broadcasting Group EVP/COO Brian Jones, chairman of the Fox Affiliates Board of Governors says: “We’re excited that this year’s Super Bowl will showcase the unique relationship of Fox and its local affiliates, which allows us to collaborate on innovations such as this. An incredible 170 affiliates from all around the U.S., including 22 stations that Nexstar owns or provides services to, opted to participate in this first-of-its-kind digital ad insertion for the Super Bowl, allowing us to promote our local affiliate brands and reach viewers on a national scale. We look forward to more groundbreaking collaborations with Fox in the future.”

According to CBS, internet live-streaming of last year’s game on CBS and NFL properties averaged 1.4 million viewers — compared with an average TV audience of 111.9 million. Nonetheless viewers watching the live streamed version of Super Bowl LI is expected to set a new Super Bowl record.

Earlier this year, Fox became the first network to launch live streaming of its primetime entertainment programming nationally with the relaunch of Fox Now Live in 210 markets. Fox Now Live also features digital ad insertion by local affiliates nationwide.

In related news, the NFL is partnering with Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo to live-stream games, including Super Bowl LI.

“Sina Weibo is an excellent partner for the NFL as we engage fans across the Chinese mainland,” said Richard Young, managing director of NFL China. “We are excited about working with Sina Weibo to stream NFL games to millions of fans. We’re confident this will be a valuable long-term partnership for the NFL and our sponsors in China.”

The NFL claims it currently attracts around 1.5 million viewers in China each week. Sina Weibo claims about 132 million daily users, a market penetration similar to Twitter and that users post over 100 million messages daily on the platform.

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