Super Bowl 50 Ads One of TV’s Hottest Commodities
By Burt Carey
With CBS announcing this week that it has sold virtually all of its advertising slots for Super Bowl 50, the anticipation of what those ads will be is heating up.
The broadcast company has benefitted from the National Football League’s golden anniversary event and the league’s purposeful casting of it in the Golden State and hosted by the San Francisco 49ers, a team named in honor of the 1849 Gold Rush miners. Super Bowl 50 will be played Feb. 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. It’s the first league championship hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area since Super Bowl XIX in January 1985.
Ads for Super Bowl 50 have reportedly sold for $5 million per 30-second spot, significantly higher than the $3.8 million spent for Super Bowl ads in 2013. Advertising prices for the NFL’s marquee game have increased an average of 11.1 percent per year for the past five years.
CBS chief executive Les Moonves also said national Super Bowl ads airing on TV would be streamed online simultaneously, allowing the network to make even more money.
“We are learning a lot, and as you can see, as you read what Comcast is doing, what DISH is doing, is the addressability is becoming clearer and clearer, and that is only good news for us,” Moonves said. “The more they know, the more we’re going to be able to sell.”
Live-streamed ads will be shown as close to real time as possible, Moonves says. It’s the first time all national Super Bowl ads will be available on a media platform different from television. Viewers in past years have copied and placed the ads on sites such as YouTube during the past Super Bowl games, so it only makes sense that CBS would simulcast their airing and make money for their efforts. Last year’s Super Bowl broadcaster, NBC, live-streamed 18 of its 70 Super Bowl ads, which sold for about $4.5 million per 30-second spot.
How that affects the television viewing audience is to be seen. Millions of Super Bowl viewers say they tune in not for the game but for the commercials. Brands such as Budweiser and Bud Light (Anheuser-Busch InBev), Coca Cola and Pepsi are not only among the biggest spenders on Super Bowl ads, they are renowned for creating ads specifically for the hundreds of millions of fans who tune in to the game each year.
CB S execs will be watching how the Internet is changing the way people tune into blockbuster events and whether streaming ads online affects game TV viewership, and if so, where and how those fans tune in.
The NFL is also experimenting with digital distribution. The league has been using Facebook to show video game clips that are sponsored by Verizon Wireless. Verizon, along with McDonald’s, sponsor the posting of game highlights on the online site Twitter.