Super Bowl Ads Fetch Record $6.5M, NBC Says, In 18% Year-To-Year Rise; Inventory Near Sell-Out For Game And Winter Olympics


All but a handful of ads on NBC’s Super Bowl next February have been sold, fetching as much as $6.5 million for 30 seconds, according to the latest report from NBCUniversal ad execs.

In a conference call with the press today, Dan Lovinger, EVP of ad sales at NBC Sports Group, said fewer than five spots remain available. The big game will be February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA.

Inventory is also almost sold out for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which also is taking place next February, the first time the games have had such proximity to the Super Bowl. The $6.5 million peak figure for Super Bowl spots includes matching investments in other NBC events like the Winter Games, Lovenger said.

The pricing is ahead of internal expectations and up 18% over the February 2021 game on CBS, which was held amid a higher level of concern about Covid-19. Many major advertisers sat out last year, with mainstays like Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola giving airtime to their lesser brands.

The general atmosphere of last year’s game, despite a rousing win by the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the favored Kansas City Chiefs, was more cautious than the one envisioned for next February. When the NFL season kicks off Thursday night, many stadiums will be welcoming fans back at full capacity and the league has attained a vaccination rate of players and coaches well north of 90%.

Streaming services and Hollywood studios will be well-represented in terms of advertising categories, Lovenger said. He ranked it in the top three categories, behind automotive and beverages.

Asked what inventory remains available, he said, “It’s fairly slim pickings. What we’ve tried to do is hold back a couple of units that are next to each other so that, if an advertiser comes to us with a 60-second creative, we can accommodate it. But other than that, we really are out of A positions.”

While regular-season NFL ratings in 2020 slid about 7%, a decline blamed on Covid, the ratings held up far better than those in other sports. In 2021, the NFL has added one regular-season game, reaching 17, a move that will help bring in additional ad dollars.

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