FX Nabs Ads for ‘League’ Before Show Even Shot

With little more to pitch than an early draft of a shooting script, FX’s senior vp of national ad sales Michael Brochstein sold a pair of season-length ad integrations to Anheuser-Busch and DirecTV for the network’s new original comedy series, The League.  

Per terms of their respective deals (the value of which neither FX nor the advertisers would disclose), A-B and DirecTV will be woven into the narrative of The League, an ensemble comedy about a group of fantasy football enthusiasts. Both brands will appear throughout the six-episode run, which kicks off in late October, leading out of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Thursdays at 10:30 p.m.

While the King of Beers is no stranger to FX––A-B was one of the first sponsors to commit to gritty cop drama The Shield––Brochstein said the early look-in was almost unprecedented.
“This is a unique situation because we were giving them a look while the show was still in the early stages of development,” he said, adding the integrations were written into the pilot before the series was greenlighted. “Contextually, it was a no-brainer, but we also limited their risk. They walked into it with a great incumbency.”

There are two party scenes in the pilot, giving the characters ample opportunity to hoist Bud bottles. That said, FX Productions was careful to avoid any overt “beauty shots,” i.e., full-frontal label placement.

The League marks the first DirecTV integration on FX, and while viewers aren’t likely to overlook the placement, it’s of a piece with the show’s semi-improvised dialogue, a stew of pop culture associations and compulsory ball-busting. (In a rough cut of the pilot, Paul Scheer’s bachelor lords it over his married pals, crowing about his “65-inch LED TV with DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket and SuperFan Package.”)

“You have guys watching football, having a few cold ones and giving each other a hard time,” Brochstein said. “With a fit like that, you don’t have to do anything contrived.”  

Per SNL Kagan, FX last year took in $368.8 million in net ad revenue, a boost of 8.2 percent over 2007.