How valuable was Disney’s ESPN tie in?

We’ve all been waiting patiently for the next trailer to come out.  Some thought it would come out at NY Comic Con.  It came and went.  But then we heard, almost last-minute it seems, that it would be shown… at halftime of Monday Night Football.  Wait, What?

Here it is again, just because:

Playing the first official trailer for Star Wars The Force Awakens during halftime of Monday Night Football makes a lot of sense. The results were great. MNF is by far the most popular show on Monday Night.  And the response was immediate.  Youtube and Facebook immediately had the video up.  And Fandango – the ticket selling site – crashed (I have lots of questions about this).

But it didn’t stop with Monday Night Football.  ESPN aired the  essentially every hour for the next few hours – during Sports Center and the Scott Van Pelt Show.   These were features that take place within the show’s run time, meaning no other advertisements were sacrificed.

Let’s also not forget its placement on

These are all very popular shows and appearing as a featured segment is quite valuable.  Obviously, since Disney owns Lucasfilm and ESPN, there’s a vested interest to the cross-marketing.  Star Wars has such broad appeal that it makes perfect sense to debut it on a show with equally broad appeal.

There’s also a value associated with all this exposure.  Advertising on ESPN isn’t free (let alone getting a feature).  So how much is all this exposure on ESPN worth?


Some basic prices

30 sec – Monday Night Football: $427,685

30 sec – ESPN Sports Center $54,415 22 Million Daily Users; Unclear of pricing, but let’s assume $10/ 1000 users


So each 2:30 second (net) spot would be:

MNF: $2,138,425

SC (et al): $272,075   X # appearances  $220,000/day X # days

I’m not sure of the number of appearances, but let’s say it’s 4 (it could be 12 for all I know at the moment – I’m not staying up all night to check).  But that gives you $1,088,300.

It’s also not quite clear how many days the trailer will appear on and the clock is still running as I write this article.  But let’s say 3 days just because.  That adds another $660,000.

So Disney’s ESPN/MNF stunt was probably (easily) worth nominally $3.5 Million.  Given how expensive the film is to make, that’s real money saved on the overall budget (and perhaps redirected to support the creation of the film itself).

It’s important to note that Disney didn’t do this kind of thing for Marvel properties.  Not Avengers: Age of Ultron or any of the X-Men films.  Star Wars is special.  And by “special” meaning it appeals to pretty much every moviegoer.  And as such, it gets special billing.  On ESPN.