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Volume 24 No. 116
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CBS' Ad Inventory 80% Sold For "Thursday Night Football," With Big Promo Effort Planned

CBS "still has ad inventory available for its inaugural 'Thursday Night Football' schedule, but it has sold presenting sponsorship positions around its pregame, halftime and postgame shows," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Lowe's has "picked up the presenting sponsorship for the first part of the pregame show" from 7:30-8:00pm ET. The Lowe’s deal "applies only to CBS’s eight games, not to the eight Thursday games that will be carried exclusively on NFL Network." Lexus will "be the halftime sponsor for the CBS games after signing a deal with the network." The car company "sponsored NFL Network’s halftime show last season." Sources said that CBS is "guaranteeing a 12 rating for its Thursday schedule across both CBS and NFL Network, which will simulcast the games." That is comparable to NBC's "SNF" package. Sources added that overall, CBS’ Thursday schedule "is about 80 percent sold." CBS Sports Exec VP/Sports Sales & Marketing John Bogusz said that a lot of the inventory "moved early around the upfront selling season (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/18 issue). VARIETY's Brian Steinberg reported Verizon has signed as the sponsor for the "second half-hour" of the pregame show, while Mazda "will support the post-game show." CBS is "seeking more than half a million dollars for a 30-second spot" during its Thursday games. A survey of primetime ad prices showed that at $500,000 or more, a spot during the games "would cost advertisers more than any other program on primetime TV," except for "SNF." NBC was able to "command an average of $628,000 for a 30-second spot" during "SNF" last season. The next most-expensive primetime show last season was ESPN's "MNF," which cost advertisers "an average of $408,000." Bogusz said that CBS has "seen good demand" from advertisers in the auto, movie, QSR, beverage and telecom sectors (, 8/18).

Pregame show
Pregame show
Postgame show

GO BIG OR GO HOME: CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus yesterday said, "I don’t think the CBS Corporation has ever mounted a larger promotional campaign. We’re determined to work with the NFL to make sure this is a success." CBS Marketing Group President George Schweitzer said the effort is “the biggest promotional and marketing event we’ve had at the network." He added, "No stone will be unturned, from radio, outdoor, cable, digital and interactive guides to good old TV commercials." In N.Y., Stuart Elliot notes last week, episodes of  CBS' "Big Brother" featured "a contest with a 'Thursday Night Football' theme." The three winners "got to leave the Big Brother house to meet members" of the Cowboys and Owner Jerry Jones at the team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Schweitzer said that reminders about “TNF” also will "be woven into episodes of CBS’s scripted series." He noted that CBS NFL analyst Boomer Esiason is "to appear in an episode of 'Blue Bloods,'" while analyst Phil Simms "will get a guest spot on 'Elementary.'" Viewers of CBS’ daytime lineup will find "TNF" promoted during "The Talk," as well as during "Let’s Make a Deal" and "The Price Is Right" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/19). CBS' Jim Nantz said, "I've never in my 29 previous years seen CBS get behind something as much as they've gotten behind this Thursday night game" (NEWSDAY, 8/19).