OOH Media in Sports Venues, Bars on the Rise


Recession be damned. That appears to be the sentiment for several out-of-home companies that appeal to consumers’ passion for sports. Distribution networks devoted to everything from stadiums and hockey rinks to health clubs and sports bars are strengthening their offerings with a much wider array of digital opportunities.

“Today, about 80 percent of our gyms are digital, whereas two years ago, none were,” says Dennis Roche, president, COO of Zoom USA, in speaking of the company’s fixed signage and TV sets in some 1,000 fitness centers. “About 30 percent of our bars are digital, and we anticipate that in three years, all our bars will be.”

OnSite Network is also raising the bar for sports bars and restaurants. Its video service, featuring live feeds of games with local content and ads wrapped around the outer margins of the screens, is currently available in 100 drinking establishments, primarily in Chicago and New York. The company just launched its SportsScape network and will be expanding into 500 new watering holes between May and June. “Moving forward, we have a goal of launching 1,000 a month, which gets us to 5,000 locations by football season,” says SportScape chief marketing officer Rick Sebok. Eventually the company plans to be available in “every DMA in the country,” he adds.

The trend is also apparent at Sports Media Inc., which currently has about 600 Jumbotrons and 25,000 TV screens in everything from major- and minor-league sports venues to Nascar speedways. CEO Dan Kosth says the TV screens in particular are likely to double or even triple within the next two years.

“I think it’s a pivotal time, because we’re getting broad acceptance in the broadcast media and sports media sectors,” says Art Williams, CEO of Arena Media Networks, which intersperses ads with closed-circuit feeds of games that appear on TV screens in some 49 stadiums and arenas. He expects to branch out into other synergistic sports locations “in the not too distant future.”

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