EXCLUSIVE: With Super Bowl XLVIII national ad inventory selling for upward of $4 million per 30-second spot, the local markets also are asking unprecedented numbers to advertise on the most-watched TV day in history. Doesn’t mean they’ll get them, but the local markets definitely are hoping to bring in the big bucks by gameday on February 2. According to one media buyer with more than 30 years of experience, the local Fox station in New York is asking $1 million per 30-second spot, while in L.A., the asking price is $550,000 per :30. As for other top TV markets, the local Fox station in Chicago is asking for $400,000 per, and Dallas wants $215,000.
“It’s crazy to pay this at the local level, but they get that or a little under,” the buyer said. “In New York, even though they ask $1 million, they’ll probably get $850,000 per 30. But even so, it’s an incredible amount.”
The viewership numbers for the NFL‘s Super Bowl Sunday are astounding. Last year, an average of 108 million viewers watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers — despite a 34-minute power outage in the stadium. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that even the pregame show asks are as high as $2.5 million and lower down to $100,000, depending on where the spot runs.
Fox and the other networks sell Super Bowl advertising nationally noting the return of investment. According to Neil Mulcahy, EVP of Fox Sports Sales, “The return on investment for a unit bought for $2 million is $10 [million] or $11 million with Super Bowl ads, because they are played repeatedly you can have 30 days of exposure [for one buy].”
The market research data Fox is quoting is now six years old, and that return on investment is likely higher now. The data all centers on research from a MillwardBrown report commissioned in 2007 by Fox, CBS and NBC — the networks that have an interest in selling the Super Bowl. The report specifically states: “One Super Bowl spot generates as much sales as 250 regular TV spots. … Advertisers on average garner more than 11% sales uplift in the month following the game.”
Perhaps, it would serve the networks well to commission a new study. I mean, a six-year-old study? Come on, guys, it’s time.
In terms of ad categories, Mulcahy — who has six years’ experience selling Super Bowl — said he has seen an increase in the automotive category overall. In terms of who bought time from the studios, he would not comment except to say, “I think because we sold out so early, unless they have a huge blockbuster to promote, it’s very hard for them to make a decision so early in October or November.”
So far, four studios have bought in — not to say they can’t buy ad inventory later on. That’s down from 2011, when there were eight buy-ins at the beginning, and steady from last year when Universal, Disney, Paramount and Summit advertised during the Super Bowl. The studios traditionally buy in to promote their tentpoles and use it to start the buzz on a film going across the nation. Last year, Universal bought 60 seconds of time to promote the latest in its wildly successful franchise Fast & Furious 6. It has not bought airtime yet this year. Summit advertised the Dwayne Johnson crime drama Snitch.
Last year, Disney bought in big and promoted Oz The Great and Powerful and The Lone Ranger. This year, the studio bought one 30-second spot and said it has not yet decided which movie to advertise. One possibility is the Aaron Paul-starring Need for Speed, based on the highly successful racing video game franchise. The pic bows with all its testosterone revving a month-plus after the Super Bowl on March 14.
Last year, Paramount snuck trailers for Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z. This year, It bought one :30 spot and will use it to debut the first footage from its highly anticipated Megatron sequel Transformers: Age of Extinction. Thanks to director Michael Bay for spilling those beans.
And not to be outdone, Sony will use the Super Bowl to advertise its rebooted superhero franchise installment The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which will open in May in IMAX 3D and conventional theaters.
Warner Bros. made no buy. Also, this year, Lionsgate bought a spot in the Super Bowl pregame show — but no word on what it will advertise as yet.