SBD/September 7, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC On Pace To Sell Out Super Bowl Ad Space Earlier Than Ever Before

NBC Sports is on pace to sell out its Super Bowl telecast earlier than ever before. The broadcaster only has "a handful" of spots remaining in the game telecast, and NBC has had conversations for all those units, according to NBC Senior VP/Group Sales & Marketing Seth Winter. NBC has sold some of its spots for a record-setting $3.5M per 30-second spot, Winter said. Last year, Fox sold 30-second Super Bowl spots for about $3M. Fox also went into last season with only a handful of spots, officially selling the game out in October. NBC looks to be on a similar pace. NBC was not authorized to identify specific advertisers that committed to the Super Bowl telecast, but Winter said the automotive category continues to set the pace, followed by soft drinks, malt beverages and movies. "The usual suspects are back in the Super Bowl," he said. The pregame show has more spots remaining, though it also is selling well. It has sold hour-long sponsorships and exclusive windows to some advertisers. Its "Sunday Night Football" regular-season schedule is more than 90% sold and its revenue so far this season exceeds the revenue NBC Sports brought in from last year's NFL schedule. Winter credited a scalding hot market and NBC's sales strategy for selling across several of its properties. Every one of the Super Bowl's ad sales has an ad component beyond the game, including golf, the NHL, college football and the NFL regular season. Its schedule of Notre Dame games is virtually sold out. "College football is probably the second most sought after sports media platform," Winter said. "I wish we had more" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT? ADWEEK.com's Anthony Crupi reported "automotive dollars sparked the demand" for Super Bowl XLVI. Fox landed eight automakers for 20 commercials during Super Bowl XLV, and Winter acknowledged that NBC's broadcast "will be just as flush with car dollars as last year’s production." He said, "You will see the same strength in auto this year that you did last year. I can literally count on the fingers of one hand the number of car advertisers who won’t be back.” Along with the "in-game spots, NBC is doing well with its shoulder programming around the event" (ADWEEK.com, 9/6). USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz reports Mercedes-Benz "won't return in 2012" after airing a spot during this year's Super Bowl. Conversely, Kia Motors America VP/Marketing & Communications Michael Sprague said that the South Korean automaker "will return to the Super Bowl for the third-consecutive year." Teleflora spokesperson Missy Miller said the flower delivery service will return, while Skechers has purchased a 30-second spot "to air during the two-minute warning of the first half." GoDaddy.com Founder & CEO Bob Parsons said that the company "will be back for its eighth Super Bowl with at least one and possibly two slots." Driver Danica Patrick again will star in the Super Bowl effort. Parsons noted that Go Daddy "has 12 possible Super Bowl ad scripts and will select from those" (USA TODAY, 9/6).
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