Super Bowl Ads Are Sold Out, Many at Record Prices as High as $7 Million

American Age Official

Kickoff for Super Bowl LVI is still days away, but NBC has scored at least one touchdown.

NBC has sold out all of its inventory for the Big Game, scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday, February 13, from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. NBCUniversal said in a statement Thursday that it has sold every in-game unit available across NBC, Telemundo and all digital platforms including Peacock. Only a handful of pre-game slots remain open for sale.

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In a statement, NBC suggested advertisers’ interest in the gridiron classic ramped up as viewership for recent playoff games surged. “The NFL has never been stronger and has led us to new records this year. From ‘Sunday Night Football’ to ‘Football Night in America’ and through the nail-biting Playoffs, we’ve seen an increased appetite for fans to watch the NFL across all our platforms,” said Mark Marshall, a president of NBCUniversal’s ad-sales and partnerships division. “This multiplatform consumption has attracted even more advertisers who have the desire for the immediate scaled reach of sports.”

As Madison Avenue’s Super Bowl desire surged, NBC pushed up the price of getting into the game. During the upfront, the network sought between $5.8 million and $6.2 million for a 30-second spot, plus extra commitments for other kinds of inventory — a common practice in Super Bowl ad talks. But in September, NBC disclosed it had seen some sponsors pay as much as $6.5 million to get in on the game. Now, NBC has indicated it was able to sell some units for as much as $7 million.

Anything at $6 million or above would represent a new high-water mark in the world of Super Bowl advertising. The event has only taken on more luster among sponsors as they find fewer and fewer linear TV properties that can bring in the millions of viewers in a fell swoop that help make TV commercials one of the more efficient promotional weapons at their disposal.

In 2021, CBS sought around $5.5 million for a 30-second spot in Super Bowl LV, declaring sell out in late January. The event generated around $484.7 million in ad revenue from 42 minutes of advertising, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending.

One reason for the higher prices? The Super Bowl is attracting a greater number of rookie advertisers, marketers who in some cases are not big spenders on TV, and, as a result, lack the years-long relationships with NBC or another network that would help them carve out a discount. NBC said it had attracted more than 30 new advertisers, representing about 40% of the 2022 Super Bowl ad roster. Last year, CBS had 26 new entrants advertise in the game, compared with just seven in 2020 and 2019.

You can bet that Anheuser-Busch InBev and PepsiCo, both of which have bought Super Bowl commercials for decades and typically buy several ads in each game, aren’t paying the high end of the current range. Indeed, Anheuser-Busch will buy four minutes’ worth of Super Bowl ads this year, the same amount it purchased in 2021. Other advertisers getting ready for game play include veterans such as Procter & Gamble’s Gillette, making a return after a 16-year absence, and Kellogg’s Pringles. And there are new entrants ranging from medical-technology company Hologic to Wallbox, a manufacturer of chargers.

Marketers of all stripes seem poised to get some bang for their buck. Every in-game advertiser will also have their commercials run on Telemundo, NBC Sports streaming properties and Peacock. Whether those are all part of a single package or require extra costs could not be immediately determined.

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