Last May, NBC let it be known it would cost $3 million for advertisers to play in the Super Bowl in 2009, a nice round number and an 11% increase from the $2.7 million Fox charged the 2008 Super Bowl. But maybe a little unrealistic in the midst of an advertising recession.
Well, they’re getting it, a sign of the increasing value of live sports in a world of audience fragmentation and where close to 30% of TV homes have DVRs and can skip ads.
NBC tells AdAge 80% of its Super Bowl ad inventory has already been sold (compared to 50% to 60% at this point in a typical year) and “a dozen or so” advertisers have paid the full $3 million freight. That’s an average; some advertisers pay more for placement as the first ad in a break or other premium spots during the game. Among the advertisers buying: Anheuser Busch, Pepsi, Coca Cola and Careerbuilder.com.
Recall Fox wasn’t 90% sold out for last year’s Super Bowl until late October, and was still trying to offload ad spots at the end of January. But last year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants drew a huge audience of 97 million, reaffirming that the game remains the last great mass advertising opportunity in an age of increasingly fragmented audiences.
Added bonus: research from Starcom and TiVo earlier this year shows that homes with DVRs don’t skip the ads during the Super Bowl. On the contrary, they record them so they can watch them again. That, and the ads get plenty of follow-on coverage and views on the Web.
Now, the next big question for NBC: Will the Super Bowl — the biggest, most expensive four hours of TV in the world — be streamed on the Web? And if so, what’s a spot going to cost?
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