Super Bowl 54 Sets Record With $435 Million In-Game Ad Spend

A preliminary estimate by research and analytics firm Kantar shows year-over-year increase of 29%

AB InBev repeated as the biggest spender on Super Bowl ads. AB InBev
Headshot of Richard Collings

The preliminary numbers are in: Super Bowl 54 likely generated a record $435 million in in-game advertising revenue for host network Fox, according to an early estimate provided by Kantar, a research and analytics firm.

That’s a year-over-year increase of about 29%, when compared to Super Bowl 53’s $336 million in in-game revenue. The 2020 number also eclipses the previous record of $390 million set in 2017, the research firm said.

Including pre- and post-game programming, Fox likely netted ad revenue in excess of $500 million for Super Bowl 54.

UPDATE: On Fox Corp’s earnings call Wednesday, CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Fox had “the largest revenue day in TV history” on Super Bowl Sunday, generating “around $600 million of gross revenue” for its Super Bowl coverage, starting with pre-game and continuing through The Masked Singer, which aired after the game.

Last night’s number benefitted from a “floater” pod of five 30-second units added by Fox and the NFL, which padded total ad revenue by about $25 million. An additional pod also helped Fox set the record in 2017, when the first overtime in Super Bowl history gave the network an additional $20 million in bonus ad revenue.

There were 51 minutes and 15 seconds of national commercial time from paying sponsors, accounting for 24% of the total broadcast time, Kantar noted. Excluding unpaid promotion spots from Fox and the NFL, the Super Bowl had 42 minutes and 40 seconds of national air time from paying sponsors, the largest in history. In all, there were 50 advertisers and 38 unique parent companies in the game.

Meanwhile, long-form commercials had a record-setting night, with 24 of the game’s 59 spots clocking in at 60 seconds or more in length, compared to the previous high of 23 in 2014.

Anheuser-Busch InBev was again this year’s largest spender shelling out about $41 million, while PepsiCo was the runner up spending $31 million, followed by Procter & Gamble paying $30 million. Amazon came in fourth with $26 million in ad spend.

Hyundai, also among the top advertisers, ranked below Amazon. While the Korean automaker has a financial stake in Kia and Kia in turn has a stake in some of Hyundai’s entities, Kia operates as a separate entity. As a result, Kantar said it does not credit Kia’s advertising to Hyundai.

Auto manufacturers spent more than any other industry, buying seven minutes and 30 seconds of commercial time for $77 million, Kantar adeed.

Depending on how you slice and dice it, Kantar said the tech industry was the second-largest category, spending $51 million on five minutes of messaging, while food finished in third with $46 million paid for four minutes and 30 seconds of ad time. Other categories with multiple brands included streaming services, motion pictures and telecom.

This year’s Big Game also featured seven first-time advertisers, in line with the prior year’s debuts. The roster of rookies included Facebook, Walmart, Little Caesars, Sabra, Quibi and the presidential campaigns of Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump.


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@RichCollings richard.collings@adweek.com Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.
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