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January 31, 2022 2 min read

Tom Brady Effect Leaves Lasting Impression on NFL, Advertisers, Networks

While the premature reports of Tom Brady’s retirement ravaged sports media this past weekend, this morning the seven-time Super Bowl champion officially confirmed he is retiring from the NFL after 22 seasons.

With his legacy as the greatest and winningest football player of all time now cemented in NFL history, his retirement poses a huge loss for not only the NFL and his fans, but also advertisers and networks.

For the past six regular seasons, Brady has drawn in an average of 2 million more viewers per game in comparison to games without him. That translates into more consumer ad engagement during NFL commercial breaks.

Brady drives ad effectiveness

Known as the Tom Brady effect, TV viewers were more engaged with TV ads when Brady was playing.

TV viewers who tuned in to a Patriots or Buccaneers game with Brady playing in the last six regular seasons have been, on average, 8% more likely to search online for advertisers, in comparison to games without him.

The Brady Effect was even greater in the playoffs. TV viewers were 11% more likely to search online for advertisers while watching Tom Brady play during the NFL playoffs. In the 2022 divisional game matchup against the now Super Bowl-bound LA Rams, TV viewers were 13% more likely to engage online with advertisers. 

Brady not only drove consumer engagement, but ad spend, as well. All of the QB’s games over the last six years — including regular season, playoffs, and Super Bowls — have comprised about one-fifth of the estimated ad spend on NFL programming.

The rise of young QBs

With Brady’s retirement now official, advertisers and networks need not fear. With the rising popularity of young NFL quarterbacks like the Patriots’ Mac Jones, the Bills’ Josh Allen, and the Bengals’ surprise star Joe Burrow, NFL programming will continue to be a fruitful platform for TV advertising.

For example, EDO found in its historical research that regular season games in which Patrick Mahomes played generated 35% higher Search Engagement than the average primetime broadcast program. This means a TV viewer was 35% more likely to search online for an advertiser in comparison to an ad aired during primetime broadcast.

As hard as it is to believe, we knew Tom Brady couldn’t be around forever. Looking forward, however, the power of the NFL and other rising stars will keep TV viewers engaged and advertisers will continue to benefit.

Interested in learning more? Find out what works for your brand and what your competitors are up to. Contact us today to learn how EDO can help you generate more consumer engagement.