The Live Event Revolution: How Streaming is Redefining Advertising

By Emily Sullivan

The roar of the crowd, the nail-biting tension, the cultural touchstone of a national election – these are the moments that capture our attention and bring us together. But for advertisers, these mega-events like the Olympics and elections are more than just entertainment; they’re a prime opportunity to connect with a captive audience.

In this post we’ll cover why these events are so important to fans and how advertisers can capitalize on these moments for increased impact. 

Reaching Mass Audiences

The Olympics, election, and March Madness games represent unparalleled opportunities for advertisers to connect with a vast and diverse audience spanning continents and demographics. Streaming platforms offer a gateway to this global stage, ensuring that advertisers can reach viewers worldwide, irrespective of geographical boundaries or time zones. 

The recent success of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, exceeding all expectations with record viewership (the Championship game peaked with 24.1 million viewers), is a clear sign of things to come. Shasta Cafarelli, SVP of Media Investment at Tinuiti, highlights the significance:

“The positive impact that key players and coaches have had on women’s sports this year are not a flash in the pan, they are a sign of what’s to come in this dynamic and often under-utilized space. Brands have an incredible opportunity to usher in this new generation of athletes and viewers by aligning with content that is quite literally changing the game.”

Live events offer a unique advantage: an engaged audience. Millions tune in, glued to their screens, creating an environment ripe for brand messaging. However, the power goes beyond solely reach. Consider the contagious energy of a buzzer-beater or the emotional rollercoaster of an election night. These moments create a powerful sense of shared experience, fostering a deep connection between viewers and the content they’re consuming. This emotional connection creates a prime opportunity for brands to forge lasting associations with viewers.

Streaming Takes Center Stage

While linear TV is a focus for many of these kinds of events, it’s important to note how streaming is growing in this space as well. Over 105 million Americans used digital streaming platforms at least once a month to watch live sports in 2024, an increase of 30.8% from the previous year. And for the first time ever, every Olympic event will be streamed live on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming platform. This digital access is a game-changer for advertisers.

Gone are the days of limited ad space during linear TV broadcasts. OTT platforms like Peacock offer targeted advertising, allowing brands to reach specific audiences more effectively than relying on broad TV spots. This doesn’t negate the value of traditional TV ads, but it certainly expands the options for brands looking to tap into the Olympic frenzy.

NBCUniversal is further innovating by offering programmatic access to the Games and surrounding content. This means that, through platforms like The Trade Desk, advertisers can use automation to buy ad space during the Olympics and related programming.

Historically, advertising during premium events like the Olympics has involved complex negotiations and high barriers to entry. Programmatic access breaks down these walls, making the Games more accessible to a wider range of advertisers.

NBCUniversal’s approach could be a blueprint for the future. By offering diverse ways for advertisers to reach their target audience – from traditional high-impact placements in single events to targeted streaming ads to programmatic access – networks can maximize their monetization potential. Imagine being able to sell virtually every single ad impression available, with minimal extra effort from the sales team.

This approach is a win-win for everyone. Networks get more revenue, advertisers reach the right viewers, and audiences enjoy a wider variety of ad formats without feeling bombarded. The 2024 Paris Olympics are shaping up to be a landmark event, not just for athletic competition, but for the future of advertising as well.

“Streaming platforms have set their sights on live events recently, with successful moves including Prime Video’s takeover of Thursday Night Football, Netflix’s broadcast of the SAG awards, and Peacock-exclusive NFL playoff games. Advertisers now have an enormous opportunity to combine the massive reach of live events, previously only available through linear, with the dynamism and measurement sophistication of digital media.”

Harry Browne VP of TV, Audio & Display Innovation at Tinuiti 

Beyond the Main Event: The Rise of Social Streaming

The world of sports fandom is changing and social streaming has also entered the chat. While viewership for sports content on YouTube is exploding (up 33% year-over-year), fans are craving more than just live games. A 2020 Google study found 79% of viewers agree YouTube offers unique sports content, making it their go-to platform to catch up, analyze plays, or get a behind-the-scenes look at athletes. This trend is echoed by a Ring Digital study, where 53% of sports highlight viewers said YouTube reigns supreme for their fix. 

Social media and YouTube are becoming the new locker rooms, with fans turning to influencers like Alix Earle and Kristin Juszczyk for glimpses into game days. Even athletes are joining the creator game – the Kelce brothers’ YouTube podcast “New Heights” has racked up over 670 million views. As the games continue, expect fans to leverage YouTube and social media platforms to enrich their viewing experience. 

“Fandom doesn’t exist only during the games. More-and-more people are turning to platforms like YouTube to catch game analysis, relive their favorite moments, or get an intimate behind-the-scenes view of their favorite athletes. Brands have an unique opportunity on YouTube to connect with a passionate group of viewers across this expanding line-up of content.”

Brian Binder Senior Innovation and Growth Director at Tinuiti 

Benefits of Advertising During Large Live Events

Advertising during large live events offers businesses a powerful platform to reach a broad audience, enhance brand visibility and credibility, and drive engagement and sales. Let’s dive a bit deeper into these benefits and how you can incorporate them into your marketing strategy moving forward.

Engaging the Right Audience

One of the most compelling aspects of streaming video advertising is its ability to deliver precision-targeted campaigns tailored to specific audience segments. Through advanced data analytics and user profiling, streaming platforms enable advertisers to dissect their audience based on factors such as demographics, interests, and behavior. This granular level of targeting ensures that ads are served to individuals who are most likely to be receptive to the message, whether it’s promoting sporting goods during the Olympics or political campaigns during elections. By zeroing in on the right audience, advertisers can eliminate potential wasted impressions and maximize the impact of their campaigns.

Captivating Viewer Attention

In an era characterized by ad fatigue and banner blindness, advertisers are increasingly turning to immersive and interactive ad formats to capture viewer attention. Connected TV platforms offer a wide range of creative opportunities, from interactive overlays to shoppable ads, that enhance the user experience and drive engagement. During major events like the Olympics and elections, where emotions run high and viewers are deeply engaged, these immersive ad experiences can leave a lasting impression, fostering brand recall and driving conversion.

Real-Time Engagement

The dynamic nature of live events presents advertisers with the opportunity to engage with viewers in real-time, capitalizing on the buzz and excitement surrounding the event. Streaming platforms enable advertisers to adapt their messaging on the fly, responding to unfolding events and trending topics as they happen. Whether it’s leveraging a viral moment during the Olympics or addressing breaking news during election coverage, real-time engagement allows advertisers to stay relevant and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.

When it comes to real-time engagement, NBCUniversal is revolutionizing shoppable television through a groundbreaking ad initiative dubbed Virtual Concessions. This innovative approach integrates commerce seamlessly into the viewing experience across its portfolio. From sporting events to movie marathons, viewers can now purchase a range of items, from snacks to beverages, directly from their screens to be delivered to their doorstep. With a focus on enhancing the fan experience, this fan-first capability will debut during the presentation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

Measurable Results

In the world of advertising, measurement is key. When you work with an agency like Tinuiti we have the ability to provide advertisers with robust measurement and analytics tools that offer real-time insights into the performance of campaigns. From impressions and clicks to conversions and engagement rates, advertisers can track a variety of metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their advertising efforts. This data-driven approach empowers advertisers to optimize campaigns in real-time, making informed decisions that drive results and maximize ROI.


As the world gears up for the excitement of the Olympics and the intensity of elections, the importance of streaming TV cannot be overstated. With its extensive reach, precision targeting, immersive experiences, real-time engagement, and measurable results, streaming advertising offers advertisers a powerful platform to connect with audiences on a global scale. By leveraging the unique opportunities presented by streaming platforms, advertisers can elevate their brand presence, drive meaningful engagement, and make a lasting impact during these events.

Interested in learning how your brand can capitalize on major events this year? We’d love to help. Contact us today to learn more about our TV & Audio Services.