SBD/February 25, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC Seeking Record $3.5M For 30-Second Ads During Super Bowl XLVI

NBC has been "quietly testing whether it can command as much as $3.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time during its broadcast of next year's Super Bowl, which would be a record-setting price for advertising in the gridiron classic," according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. NBC is "entertaining discussions with advertisers and media agencies about Super Bowl XLVI, slated to be broadcast from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, 2012." Interest in the game "has been robust, spurred further by Fox's ability to sell out its broadcast of Super Bowl XLV all the way back in October," and a source indicated that NBC has been "holding talks with potential advertisers since early fall." Ad buyers revealed that the network has "suggested that 30 seconds of ad time during the game is worth" north of $3M and as much as $3.5M. By comparison Fox is believed to have charged around $3M for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLV earlier this month. Steinberg noted Super Bowl ad prices "typically rise $100,000 or $200,000 each year, depending on the performance of the most-recent broadcast." NBC's proposal of a "possible hike of $500,000, however, is bold," especially since the NFL is "in the midst of labor discussions that could leave the U.S. without a football season come autumn." NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI will be its first since merging with Comcast, and recent comments from NBC Universal President & CEO Steve Burke "suggest the company expects to make a profit off sporting events" (, 2/24).
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