Super Bowl Ads Went for $7 Million a Pop This Year

Image Credit: ESPN

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Only one team can come out on top in Super Bowl LVI on February 13: the loveable underdog Cincinnati Bengals or the Los Angeles Rams.

But there is another guaranteed winner on every Super Bowl gameday: the ad sales department at that year’s broadcaster. This year it’s NBC’s turn in the rotation, and on Thursday they announced record sales.

Touchdown in the Spend Zone

From Cindy Crawford and Britney Spears hawking Pepsi to Budweiser’s frogs and “Whassup” guys spots, Super Bowl commercials are often more memorable than the game itself. The NFL championship is the one event that still draws mammoth live US viewership in the streaming era, earning it the broadcast world’s most prized and pricey advertising opportunity.

While last year’s Super Bowl broadcast on CBS fell to a 14-year ratings low of 96.4 million, NBC expects this year’s game to bounce back above 100 million viewers. Much to their delight, the rarity of a giant captive audience brought in record numbers of new advertisers willing to pay a premium:

  • NBC originally sought $5.8 million to $6.2 million for 30-second spots but said Thursday that some ad units sold for $7 million — the previous record was $6 million.
  • Of about 70 ad spots, more than 30 were sold to new advertisers, including cryptocurrency companies Crypto.com and FTX, who join the storied ranks of beer, soda, potato chips, and cars.

CBS made about $485 million in ad revenue from 42 minutes of ads last year with 26 new advertisers, according to ad data firm Kantar. That bodes well for NBC’s final haul, as new clients usually pay higher rates than longstanding advertisers.

The More You Know: Nine of the ten most-watched broadcasts in US television history were of Super Bowl games played since 2010 (the other is the MAS*H finale in 1983), and Super Bowls account for 28 of the 30 most-watched broadcasts in US history.