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January 09, 2022

Super Bowl commercial spots already sold out, CBS says

This year, like many before it, will be a time when many things will rise in cost: items like flat-screen TVs (at least, those adding "smart" technology) and new cars (thanks to tougher fuel efficiency regulations for manufacturers).

So, what does a consumer do? We adapt. We buy the almost-as-good flat-screens without smart technology. We buy not new cars but rides that are one, two-years-old.

That's how regular shoppers, at least, spend. But what about major ad buyers, who clamour each year to be included in the Super Bowl broadcast, the magnum opus of the calendar's TV commercial biz?

They just spend, spend, spend, baby. Already, though each spot has gone for a new record price, CBS has sold out its Super Bowl commercial time, according to the network.

Indeed, the rules are quite different for major companies fighting for Super Bowl ad time. Like a bubble that shows no signs of bursting, commercial time for the NFL's title game keeps going up in price ... and businesses keep paying and paying.

*Bing: Watch the most memorable Super Bowl commercials

Yesterday, CBS, which will be the lucky network to broadcast Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, announced that all its ad space for the game has been bought up.

That's anywhere between 60 to 70 thirty-second slots, which went this year for an average of $3.7 million-to-$3.8 million, according to ad agency executive estimates.

Last year, by contrast, NBC sold its ad spots for an average of $3.5 million.

Big companies, of course, are out once again for this year's Super Bowl. Coca-Cola, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Best Buy have confirmed their 2013 participation. Anheuser-Busch InBev will also be using their pricy Super Bowl spot to debut a new beer, Budweiser Black Crown.

What's perhaps most interesting about the buying and selling of Super Bowl ad spots each year is that the network that broadcasts the game -- currently on a rotating loop between CBS, NBC and Fox -- has so much flexibility in what it can sell and to whom.

While there is a regular max per Super Bowl (say, 70 half-minute slots), in theory CBS this year could add in a couple commercial spots if the price is right.

Network chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said earlier this week all spots were sold, but grinned in reporting that if another company "wants to come in and pay five or six million, we will find room."

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...