Super Bowl Ads: Fox Scores a $4 Million Touchdown

football sports

Television ads for the big day are officially sold out, and when we say big day, we obviously mean the Super Bowl XLVIII. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Fox Network, the host of next year’s game, said this week that it has sold all of its commercial time, demonstrating that ad buyers are still willing to pay the big bucks in order to get their 30-second face time. The 2014 game will be played on February 2, and according to ad buyers, the amount of money it takes to secure a 30-second spot during the game has risen about 5 percent from the 2013 game.

Last February, ads buyers paid around $3.8 million for commercial time, while this time around, marketers will be paying Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX), up to $4 million per slot. It’s hard to imagine how the price of a 30-second slot can still be rising, especially when an increasing number of viewers are now turning to social media and other video streaming services for their entertainment, but the Journal highlights that the Super Bowl is one of the only events that can still attract a large audience watching live television, and last February’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers attracted some 108.4 million viewers, the third largest audience for a television event on record.

That explains why the price of ad time for the matchup has risen consistently since the game’s inception, and it has increased 42 percent since 2004 when spots sold for about $2.3 million. Barring 2007 and 2010, prices have risen significantly in each succeeding year as advertisers continue to recognize the rare audience that the Super Bowl continues to score.

According to the Journal, the last time Fox hosted the Super Bowl was in 2011, when it announced that it sold out its ad slots in October. CBS (NYSE:CBS) had the game in 2013, and waited until the weeks proceeding the game to confirm that it sold out its ad spots. Even though networks often announce when they’ve sold out, ad buyers still usually have wiggle room after the report because advertisers can pull out before the game, opening up more ad spots at higher prices, and there are also advertising opportunities on live streams of the game on the Web, which will carry a similar number of ads to the TV broadcast.

The number of viewers expected to watch the game on their electronic devices is higher than ever, and Marla Newman, senior vice president of Fox Sports digital ad sales, acknowledges, “Fans are getting more and more accustomed to watching live video” on their tablets and smartphones.

Still, although many consumers will enjoy the game from their portable tablets and devices, Americans across the nations are still expected to honor the long-time tradition of tuning into the game on their TVs, surrounded by family, friends, and food. Football fans should expect to see commercials from Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD), Kia Motors, and Hyundai Motors this upcoming February, along with General Motors (NYSE:GM) and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP).

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