Gone in 30 seconds: a whopping $6.5m

Networks can name any Super Bowl ad price; advertisers are bound to pay up.

Wanna burn a pile of money on a Super Bowl ad? Better get on that now.

Super Bowl ad prices over time

CBS, which will broadcast Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024, has already sold ~70% of the event’s ad inventory, per Variety.

The average price? $6.5m per 30 seconds.

The going rate is gobsmacking, but they’re still going fast

Dibs have now been called on most of the Big Game’s first half and third quarter.

The early rush tracks with last year: Fox, which had 2023 broadcast rights, sold ~95% of its inventory by September 2022. The network charged similar $6m-$7m rates.

  • The result? The Chiefs, Eagles, and halftime performer Rihanna teamed up to attract 113m viewers and Fox grossed ~$600m in ad revenue.

OK, but why do advertisers keep flocking to these overpriced ad slots?

This Super Bowl hoopla says a lot about the current state of the TV business:

  • Network ratings are atrocious — for the first time in any of our lifetimes, no broadcast drama or comedy surpassed 10m viewers across Nielsen’s latest US ratings season, per Hollywood Reporter. The only two weekly programs averaging 10m+ last season? NFL telecasts.
  • Live sports is TV’s last stand for bringing eyeballs together en masse and forcing them to simultaneously sit through ads — which is why companies are dropping wild sums (Alphabet spent $14B!) to bring the NFL to their platforms.

Another factor making sports an advertising haven: they’re a reliable bet that has nothing to do with Hollywood’s other nightmare — striking writers’ and actors’ unions.

The longer those strikes continue, the more enticing that remaining sliver of Super Bowl ads will look.

BTW: Ever wonder why so many of these multimillion-dollar ads suck? Well, some are intentionally bad.

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