We're in day three of the NFL Lockout and media giants — and Wall Street analysts — are starting to tally the impact of the shutdown. Billions of dollars are at stake. The biggest advertisers spent a total of $3.4 billion on NFL games this past season and NFL games are the linchpin of ad campaigns for everything from beer and cars, to financial services to electronics.
Advertisers will have to start scrambling for alternatives to the highest-rated franchise on TV and this fall networks will struggle to figure out how to promote their new lineup without the NFL platform. And that likely means that advertisers will shift dollars into prime-time shows with huge reach, like Fox's American Idol or highly rated sitcoms like CBS' 'Two and a Half Men' — we'll see if the network finds a star to replace Charlie Sheen to grab some of those ad dollars.
Losing the NFL season would eliminate some $3 billion in advertising revenue from the four networks. Fox has the most at stake — this year its Sunday NFC package generated nearly a billion dollars in ad dollars. Sunday Night football generated $850 million for NBC, and CBS generated just less than that.