Answer: $5.1 million and $5.3 million
After two pretty darn good conference title games that went into overtime, the teams for Super Bowl LIII are set. The New England Patriots will take on the Los Angeles Rams in this year’s championship game Feb. 3. Brady and the Patriots will make their ninth appearance in 18 seasons on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem, Maroon 5 will perform at halftime, and over 100 million people are expected to tune in. So with this many eyeballs, selling advertising should be a breeze, right? Well, according to Brian Steinberg in Variety, you better think again.
Steinberg points out that “not too long ago, TV networks would gleefully announce by September or October that they had sold all the inventory in their coming Super Bowl broadcast.” In contrast, CBS has said its upcoming broadcast of Super Bowl LIII is “more than 90%” sold. This is a far cry from being sold out in the fall. One potential reason is that the price of a 30-second ad in the game is now between $5.1 million and $5.3 million for a package that includes a 30-second spot and some digital inventory.
Why that matters: Those figures represent an approximate 96% hike over the average cost of $2.7 million for an ad in the 2008 broadcast of Super Bowl XLII, according to Kantar Media, a tracker of ad spending. Walt Hickey of Numlock News points out, “the real estate is just a fraction of the cost: ads need special effects budgets, [they] must buy popular songs or splurge on top talent lest they be left with some bargain-bin ‘80s sitcom star or taped-up has-been or Kevin Hart shilling for them.” Needless to say, it isn’t as easy as it used to be to sell these spots, but hopefully the commercials deliver on entertainment value while we take a break from the game.