CBS Now 70% Sold out on Super Bowl

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NEW YORK ( — Ad sales for the Super Bowl appear to be moving more briskly than anticipated given the current economy, with CBS now selling approximately 70% of its inventory for the game, according to a person familiar with the situation, and Hyundai revealing that it has purchased two spots in the big-audience event.

Hyundai, which took more prominence in last year’s event when General Motors pulled out in the wake of economic considerations, will use its in-house agency Innocean to craft the spots. The automaker joins a roster of advertisers for Super Bowl XLIV that now includes Careerbuilder, InBev Anheuser Busch, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and, no surprise, The web-domain registrar said last week that it would run two ads in the pigskin classic, set to air in Feb. 7, 2010 on CBS. Bridgestone will again be the half-time sponsor for the game and, as part of the deal it and agency Richards Group negotiated, gets two 30-second spots in the game.

 Ad Age Digital  DigitalNext  MediaWorks Clearly the ad-sales climate for the game remains challenging. At this time last year, NBC had sold more than 80% of its inventory after aggressively making the case that a 30-second spot in the game was worth a record $3 million. Indeed, in 2007, News Corp.’s Fox was nearly sold out of inventory by late October.

But the recent spate of activity offers some encouragement. CBS has sold ad time for top positions for prices between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. The network has pushed ad time in pre-game broadcasts and has sold sponsorships for blocks of that inventory, this person said.

Ad-sales executives remain hopeful that some Super Bowl perennials who abandoned their longtime roost in the contest last year will return. Already, FedEx Corp. has said it’s mulling whether it should appear in 2010.

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