Case study

Football Manager


Football Manager 2020 (FM20) is a management simulation game which was developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega as a successor to Football Manager 2019. It was released worldwide on the 18th of November 2019 to critical acclaim and achieved record user numbers.

Game AgencySports Interactive
GameFootball Manager 2020
Platforms SupportedSteam, Epic Games Store
Inventory CategoryStadium
InventoryPitchside Billboards (Animated)

Enhancing the gaming experience

Football Manager 2020 features a match engine that allows gamers to watch matches unfold as they manage their team. Around the action there are pitchside billboards which are animated, these LED boards are a perfect fit for in-game advertising. 

The in-game billboards represent natural spaces where gamers would expect to see advertising in real-life, so when Bidstack add unintrusive in-game ads into these spaces we are able to help brands reach their target audience whilst enhancing the realism of the game for the end user.

  • Contextually relevant

  • Realistic

  • Unintrusive

Football Manager 2020

Programmatic advertising = Greater relevance

Bidstack’s SDK was successfully integrated into FM20 without impacting the game’s performance. The SDK allows advertisers to target their audience by both geo-location and the platform they are playing on by utilising anonymised data, this ensures greater relevance for the gamer while protecting their privacy.

Development impact

Bidstack’s SDK allows multiple campaigns to run at the same time and for different ads to be served to gamers in the same country but in different cities. This opens the door for much greater advertising scale for game publishers who historically have hard coded ads into their games, serving the same creative to all players. Besides, integrating Bidstack’s SDK is easy and doesn’t require much investment in development time and resources, which makes it even more appealing.

Commercial impact

Having worked with Sports Interactive on Football Manager 2019 we were keen to build on the partnership and deliver demonstrable revenue growth and strong fill rates in FM20. The graph below demonstrates the steady and consistent revenue growth we were able to offer Sports Interactive with FM20. In the graph below we can see growth quarter by quarter in terms of revenue with rises of 120% and then 140% between Q2 and Q3.

Consistent fill, high quality brands

Our consistent revenue growth in FM20 was underpinned by strong fill rates in the game from well-known brands, approved by Sports Interactive. After a relatively slow start to 2020 with the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 we saw an average fill rate of 28% between April and November in our active territories.

”Just as in real-world football, FM's pitchside advertising is an integral part of the matchday experience - in fact, we're in the rare position that our game would be less authentic without display advertising. Working with Bidstack allows us to provide a constant flow of fresh advertising content in a seamless and authentic fashion. One of the main benefits of Bidstack's technology is that it allows us to deliver advertising that’s not only relevant within the context of the game, but also tailored to each player's interests and location - and all without either 'breaking the illusion' or slowing the game down in any way. It really is a 'win-win' partnership.”

Dr Tom Markham

Head of Strategic Business Development, Sports Interactive