Whether you're a sports fan or not, there's a high probability you'll watch the Super Bowl come early February. The battle for the NFL championship is a sad goodbye to football season, but the hysteria surrounding the big game is an animal in itself. There's the national anthem, the halftime show, the celebrity appearances and of course, the commercials. A Super Bowl commercial is the most valuable real estate in the advertising biz. The reason? The Super Bowl is consistently the most watched live television event of the year. Over the past decade, an average of 107 million U.S. viewers tune in, according to Sports Media Watch. That many eyeballs makes for abundant opportunities to attract new customers. But, a Super Bowl commercial costs a lot of money.
It's no secret. I know it, you know it, my neighbor's dog knows it. Fox, NBC and CBS know it, too, which is why they charge top dollar to any company who wants in on the action. So, just how much does a Super Bowl commercial cost?
How Much Do Super Bowl Commercials Cost in 2023?
NBC has the honor of broadcasting the Super Bowl this year. In between commentary from Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen, we'll be seeing ads for brands like Bud Light, Budweiser, Pepsi and Doritos and products like cars, movies, insurance and countless other things you don't know you want yet.
The cost to get the word out about your product? According to Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales of NBC Sports Group Don Lovinger, the going rate for a 30-second ad in last year's Super Bowl was $6.5 million. Now, with Super Bowl LVII on the horizon, the cost for airtime has gone up.
Variety came out on February 6 and said that 30-second spots for Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles went for as much as $7 million. For reference, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is making a base salary of under $1.1 million this season, per Spotrac.
Given that some 80-90 ads air during the game, NBC and the NFL will rake in roughly $574 million in total advertising revenue. A reasonable take from a Sunday night's work.
Cost of a Super Bowl Ads Over Time
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Cable television was still in its infancy back when the first Super Bowl was played in 1967. Unsurprisingly, the cost of a commercial in those days was significantly cheaper because only a tiny fraction of the country had access to the NFL's biggest night.
According to Yahoo!, the cost of an ad in 1967 was just $42,500. That figure comes out to be $355,000 when adjusted for inflation. As the league grew in popularity and televisions became more commonplace, the cost rapidly rose.
By 1975 the price had more than doubled to $107,000 ($554,500 adjusted for inflation). The cost surpassed the million-dollar threshold in 1995 when a 30-second commercial ran for $1.15 million ($2.1 million adjusted for inflation).
Since, the price has steadily increased save a large jump from $2.95 million to $4.25 million from 2010 to 2015 (Super Bowl XLIX). Last year for Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the average cost of $5.5 million was a decrease from $5.6 million in 2020's Super Bowl LIV due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically, the audience of 96.4 million in 2021 was the lowest since 2007, according to CNBC.
So, over 57 Super Bowls, the cost of an 30-second ad has increased by 1,801 percent when adjusted for inflation. Seeing how the NFL was taking in over $15 billion in revenue before the coronavirus affected the bottom line in 2020, companies can more than justify the investment, especially considering the sporting event's ridiculous viewership.
It's safe to say Super Bowl Sunday is worth a whole lot of money.
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