Rare is the televised sporting event where you’ll find dialogue that sounds like this – “Hurry up! The Patriots just scored, they’re about to kick the extra point and go to commercial. You can finish those dishes when the game comes back on!” – but for Super Bowl Sunday it is. Talk of the ads dominate conversations, with emphasis on what companies will come up with next and who’ll pony up the $3.5 million—or in one late entry’s case, as much as $4 million—to guarantee a seat at the party.
“The Super Bowl is the highest watched program in the country,” said local sales manager for NBC 26, Pete Michenfelder, whose station will air Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5. “What’s neat about it is that people don’t take bathroom breaks during the commercials, they take them during the game.”
And for all the talk surrounding the national ads, it seems we forget that there are local businesses wrestling for those same eager eyeballs in order to have their product or service viewed by the largest collective audience of the year.
“There’s so much interest over the years for watching the commercials,” said Michenfelder. “What we’ve suggested locally is that they take a similar approach (like national advertisers) and put their best foot forward that evening.”
The same intoxicating question asked nationally even arises at the local level: how much does a 30 second spot cost to air?
“We are not going to share any of that information,” said Michenfelder. “That’s just some information that’s proprietary from our regard.”
While the different pricing structures of the sales packages affect how much an individual 30 second spot would run, on average, the in-game spots are rumored to be in the neighborhood of $5,000 a pop.
“Spots are certainly at a premium, but if you look at the cost-per-thousand and cost-per-rating points (measurement metric), it’s a tremendous value,” said Michenfelder.
The majority of the Super Bowl units sold were packaged with other programming, such as the Super Bowl pre-game broadcast, the premiere of Season 2 of “The Voice”—which follows the Super Bowl – and the 17-day 2012 Summer Olympics.
Driving the demand for much of the coveted national space again this year will be automotive ads, and that trend extends here to the local level as well. Car dealerships, lumber companies and fast food are the primary clients committed to the Super Bowl, Michenfelder said.
Last year’s Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers was not only the most watched Super Bowl, but also the most watched single program of any kind in US TV history. The 162.9 million estimated viewer total outdrew the previous leader, Super Bowl XLIV (Colts-Saints) by over 9 million viewers. The TV rating for last year’s game was 54.0—that means 54% of all TV’s, including those not even turned on, were tuned to the Super Bowl. The telecast also garnered an astronomical 73 share, which means that 73% of people that were watching TV while the game was on were locked on FOX.
Mammoth ratings for sports are nothing new for viewers familiar with NBC’s programming. Their Sunday Night Football program consistently dominates ratings in the regular season, so sales staffs across the country have a leg up when retreading their pitches for the Olympic Games. Also, since both boast similar buying practices, and many Olympians have become as recognizable as some of the NFL’s brightest stars, some things are an easier sell than others.