Super Bowl Slots Nearly Sold Out

NEW YORK CBS has sold approximately 80 percent of the ads that will appear on the Super Bowl XLI telecast, Feb. 4, 2007, in Miami, according to sources.

John Bogusz, evp, sports sales at CBS, would not confirm the current near-sellout level, but did indicate that the first half was “virtually sold out with some spots left, predominantly in the fourth quarter.”

The network is not identifying specific sponsors, but several marketers have confirmed that they’re in the game, including Anheuser-Busch, which
has agreed to buy Super Bowl spots through 2012; General Motors; CareerBuilder.com; Federal Express; and GoDaddy.com. PepsiCo and Frito-Lay brands will also be Super Bowl advertisers.

Bogusz said it was too early to say what the average price of a spot in the 2007 Super Bowl would be, given the amount of inventory yet to sell. Some sponsors are paying a bit more than $2.6 million per 30-second unit, while big perennial advertisers, like A-B, pay less. Sources confirm the beer marketer pays around $2 million for each of the 10 30-second units it will have in the game.

Bogusz said he expects that the average price will be “comparable to last year, if not slightly higher.” The average price of a spot in last year’s game, on ABC, was about $2.4 million, again with some sponsors paying higher, some lower.

A GM representative confirmed that the carmaker would be back in the ’07 game.

Tentative plans call for GM to have two in-game commercials and two post-game spots. In-game ads will include one for Chevrolet, based on the winning entry from a contest in which college students offered ideas for a commercial. (Campbell-Ewald will actually produce the ad). In addition, GM is planning one in-game corporate spot. Doritos and the NFL have also announced that they are planning commercials with some input from consumers.

The Cadillac brand will sponsor the post-game show (including the Most Valuable Player segment) with one 30-second unit and one 60-second unit, the GM rep said.

Go Daddy said last week that it intends to have at least one and maybe two spots in the upcoming game. It has hired Shine Advertising of Madison, Wis., to create its spots.

CBS has indicated that prime-time show Criminal Minds would get the coveted lead-out slot of the game (kick-off time is 6:20 p.m.). Super Bowl-related programming begins at noon on game day, with ads starting at $100,000 per 30 seconds and getting increasingly more expensive leading up to kick-off, said Bogusz.

The ad market for the NFL has remained robust this season, he said, indicating that ratings are up for the regular season this year and so is pricing, by a “high single-digit figure” to more than $300,000 per 30-second ad for games on CBS.