Unlock the Power of Live with our Playbook

Disney is the home for sports, with the most enviable rights, entertainment and streaming brands in the business. We have the ability to deliver both massive scale and specific audiences, across over 15,000 live sports events.

And as the cold months of winter start, live sports at Disney really heat up! Starting in January, some of our biggest leagues get into high gear and are all available via Programmatic, both guaranteed and biddable. From the NBA and NHL, to UFC, College Basketball, International Soccer, and more – we’re serving all fans.

We continue to place big bets on sports across all screens. We made a groundbreaking 7-year agreement with the NHL and formed an updated deal with the NFL. Both expanded hockey and football presence significantly on streaming platforms.

Over the years, we have invested in understanding these audiences and their consumption patterns. In 2019, we released Generation Stream, our most extensive streaming research study ever, which provided an insightful and fresh look at the current and future state of streaming TV.

We pushed the ball even further downfield with Generation Stream: Sports Edition in 2021, where we explored how streamers interact with sports, informing the future of fandom and consumption. Here are a few highlights, and you can download the full brand book to take a deeper dive.


of sports fans say the best thing that’s ever happened to sports is streaming


of sports fans say that they watch more sports than they did a year ago because of streaming


of sports fans have become passionate about a sport that they didn’t have access to before streaming services

Streaming is extending the sports viewing experience for fans, and data provides new ways for brands and marketers to tap into them. Therefore, planning and activating based on changing viewing behavior needs to be top of mind – particularly in the programmatic marketplace.

Through our industry-leading data and measurement capabilities, we’ve enabled advertisers to further amplify their investment by leveraging Disney Select to reach specific audiences during the game.

Everything we have mentioned fuels our Programmatic Playbook – four plays that allow you to capitalize on the power of live sports and drive performance-led results. It’s your guide to capturing those unexpected moments, bringing your message to fans as they’re on the edge of their seats.

Here’s a preview.

1. Capture the Spike

More than 60% of sports streaming happens on the weekend. A key element of live is the unknown – from upsets to overtimes. These moments are pivotal to viewers and spark conversations well beyond the game.

2. Maintain Fluid Budgets

A fluid budget is a must. Advertising expenditure shouldn’t be evenly distributed during the week. We can advise on date exceptions, schedule changes, and most importantly, planning goals, to ensure brands do not miss millions of fans watching over the weekend.

3. Flexible Frequency Capping

In the programmatic space, frequency requires flexibility, standard media rules don’t apply. Programmatic gives advertisers a unique opportunity to control frequency in real time. Extra innings and overtime are when viewers are on the edge of their seats. A standard cap could prevent an advertiser’s message from being seen and heard in these critical fan moments.

4. Leverage Data

Data is the secret sauce that delivers ad relevance and measurable impact. By tapping into Disney’s industry-leading data capabilities, programmatic buys become that much more powerful. Advertisers can utilize our extensive library of first-party audience segments available through Disney Select, with segments including sports fandom, buyer characteristics, buyer affinity, and genre fandom (such as comedy or drama). Disney Select empowers advertisers to connect with fans in live sports content, or even in their favorite entertainment content after the game. Leveraging Disney Select within our new addressable video offerings tees up addressable audiences at scale, across platforms, through one buy.

We want to leave you with this…programmatic represents a huge opportunity, but requires the right approach for brands to maximize success. The winning formula is Live + Flexibility + Data, and our Playbook is your guide!

If you’re ready to get the most out of live sports, please reach out to your Disney Account Representative for a huddle today.