Superbowl Ads Sell Out, Spot Price Substantially Up from Last Year

January 3, 2012

NBC has sold out is allocated spots for advertisements during the Superbowl.

For the Feb. 5 game in Indianapolis, drugs NBC said it sold all of its 30-second ads, at an average of $3.5 million, by Thanksgiving. That’s up from about $3 million last year when Fox carried the game.

At a $3.5 million average, the 70 commercials that run during the game would produce $245 million in gross revenue; subtract ad agency commission, and NBC would receive just over $208 million.

Then, add in the revenue from the six commercials that will run during halftime, and still more in the six hours of pregame programming, and you can see why networks love Super Bowls.

“We should shatter all prior records for that day,” Seth Winter, the senior vice president for sales and marketing for the NBC Sports Group, said last week.

In 2009, the last time NBC carried the Super Bowl, selling advertising was not so easy, and it had to keep at it through the weekend of the game. NBC left the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing with 85 percent of its Super Bowl advertising sold. Then the economy cratered.

“We really slogged through the last 15 percent,” Winter said. Not so this time. While the economy is not robust, advertising for major sports events is. “I never underestimate luck and timing,” he added.

NBC is also selling advertising on its live streamed broadcast of the game and on Super Bowl-related programming to be shown on the NBC Sports Network.

“Every advertiser in the Super Bowl has some participation across the board of the NBC Sports Group portfolio,” Winter said.

The ability to sell advertising at enormous prices for a game that will reach over 100 million viewers is one reason NBC agreed last month to a nine-year deal that starts in 2014 with the N.F.L. and will cost the network an average of $950 million annually. The contract guarantees NBC three Super Bowl broadcasts.