SBD/18/Sports Media

NFL AD TIME IS A HOT COMMODITY FOR THE NETWORKS

     "In the 1995-96 NFL marketplace, it is the sellers -- the
networks -- who reign," according to Langdon Brockinton in INSIDE
MEDIA.  Just before July 4, ABC, NBC and Fox have already sold
nearly 90% of their "respective inventory" for the upcoming
season, and demand is so strong that NFL ad time has "commanded
substantial rate hikes -- generally, 12-18 percent on a cost per
thousand basis -- over last season's prices."
     THE COST:  Some media buyers report that Fox is now asking
advertisers for a "whopping" $600,000 per 30-second on the
network's NFC Championship Game.  Fox's "goal is to make the
value of the NFC Championship more proportionately equivalent to
the worth of the Super Bowl."  Likewise, NBC has sold close to
all of its playoff ad time and 85% of Super Bowl XXX ad time.
Despite the AFC's rating resurgence last year, Fox is still
charging "a bit more than NBC for commercial time: on average,
$130,000-$140,00 per :30, versus $120,000-$130,000."  Monday
Night Football on ABC will go from $275,000 to $300,000 per 30-
second.  Overall, Fox reportedly may have surpassed its '94-95
NFL ad revenue total of $275M, and NBC and TNT are not far
behind.
     WHO'S IN THE MIX:  Domestic automakers continue to spend
heavily, as do computer marketers and credit card companies.  IBM
has a deal with Fox, and AmEx has renewed deals with both NBC and
Fox to be the sole credit card advertiser during playoff
coverage.  New companies, such as Volkswagen -- who will spend
$10M on Fox this season -- have also "flooded the gridiron
marketplace."  Some auto brands, such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and
Toyota/Lexus -- signed four-year agreements with ABC and NBC
before last season after the league signed a new TV deal, "thus
the two networks locked in a lot of auto money for the long
term."  One agency exec:  "Advertisers that cut multiyear deals
must be feeling pretty happy.  And the people who moved early in
the market did a little better pricewise -- especially if they
bought before the primetime marketplace moved in earnest"
(Langdon Brockinton, INSIDE MEDIA, 7/12 issue).
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