TV makers convince themselves about sporting sales boost

With major sports events drawing in massive numbers of viewers, TV manufacturers often latch on with promotional deals to rake in extra cash with tie-ins.

This year Toshiba piggy-backed on the Rugby World Cup with a deal which involved those purchasing a TV set receiving £1 cash back for each point egg-chaser Toby Flood scored. It is often the case that manufacturers target those with a plan to camp out in the living room for that year’s World Cup, Wimbledon or whichever event occurs at the start of that summer.

This year, of course, it is the London Olympics that we can probably expect TV firms to hype up, presumably offering a quid back for every shot of Kate and Wills, or toilet stop by Paula Radcliffe this year.

According to DigiTimes though, despite a major seven year replacement cycle reaching its end this year at the Olympics, there is unlikely to be a big rush to buy up brand new products.

This is partly due to the ongoing global financial woes, sources say, which mean that the cash just won’t be available for upgrades.  Industry sources also reckon that the popularity of handheld mobile devices will temper demand, with increased interest in watching on an iPad than on a sparkly new TV set.

TechEye approached high street TV vendors which said that despite the interest in sporting events they did not necessarily see massive changes in consumer spending.  According to Dixons, sales staff there is a “slight increase” in the amount of TVs sold around the time of sporting events but no major impact.  Both Currys and Dixons expect that promotions will be ramped up around the time.

According to display expert at Meko, Bob Raikes, this is just part of a self-fulfilling prophecy where the industry splashes out on advertising – inevitably leading to increases in sales – rather than a natural spike in consumer spending.

“It is basically a fable in the industry that there is an increase,” Raikes told TechEye.  “Every two years there is either a World Cup or a European Championships and Olympics, but it is basically wrong that it causes that much of an impact. It does have some impact but this is mainly because the belief in the industry that it has an effect leads to greater advertising around this period.”

Raikes says the second quarter of the year is typically quite quiet, “but these major sporting events bring about a change in seasonal pattern, with sales being moved forward from the third quarter to the second instead.”

Raikes believes, however, that the current increase in sales could make even less of an impact in the long term: “If you go back maybe five, but certainly ten, years ago the main way to watch events was at home.  Now there are more sports bars and there is a big increase in the amount of people attending large screenings of events.

“This could serve to further lessen the effect of those buying sets for a sporting event as the people who are likely to attend a big screening are also likely to be those who would buy specifically for an event.”