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Volume 26 No. 65
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Fox Sports Sets Blistering Pace With Super Bowl LIV Ad Sales

Fox Sports only has 17 ads left to sell for Super Bowl LIV, with around 11 weeks before kickoff. The network already has sold 60 of the game’s 77 available in-game ads (78%), setting the fastest sales pace for the big game in at least the past five years, according to Fox Sports Exec VP/Sports Sales Seth Winter. Some have gone for a record rate of $5.6M per 30-second spot. That high rate usually goes to one-off advertisers that buy into the game; advertisers that buy several spots typically get a discounted rate. But Winter said that every ad sold this year has been over $5M. “We’re in very good shape,” he said. “Based on what I see today, we’re going to be sold out well before the game.” Winter added that his team has been talking to at least 25 advertisers to fill the open 17 spots.

One reason for the brisk business: Fox and the NFL cut down on the number of ad breaks per quarter from five to four. The Feb. 2 game will feature the same number of ads as past Super Bowls. But it will have fewer breaks, which means that advertisers will have fewer chances to buy the most coveted positions at the beginning and end of ad -- known in the business as “A” spots and “Z” spots. “That really accelerated the sense of urgency in the market,” Winter said. “There’s a notion that certain quarters are better than others. Everyone wants an A position. We created a marketplace by contracting the numbers of A’s and Z’s. ... That caused the market to move much more quickly this year.”

As is custom during the Super Bowl ad sales process, the network would not identify specific companies that bought ads. Networks wait for the companies to make those announcements. But Winter identified several advertising sectors that have been particularly active, such as technology, automotive and packaged goods/beverages. “The movie category, from where it was last year to this year, has come back nicely,” he said. “Telco is strong. Streaming services are starting to dip their toes in the water. It’s a pretty good cross section of categories.”