Super Bowl LIV Will Have 4 Fewer Ad Breaks on Fox

Fox and NFL make format change to speed up game’s pace

Fox is seeking $5.5 million per 30-second spot for next year's Super Bowl. Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Super Bowl LIV, airing Feb. 2 on Fox, will have four fewer ad breaks than viewers are used to seeing in the Big Game. But they won’t be seeing fewer ads.

The NFL and Fox have agreed to reduce the number of ad pods in each quarter from five to four in an effort to speed up the pace of the game and improve the viewing experience, both at home and in the stadium. However, that will not reduce the number of in-game Super Bowl ads. Those spots will migrate to the other pods.

“This change in format will be the first-ever for a Super Bowl and we’re proud to pioneer this effort together with the NFL,” said Seth Winter, evp of Fox Sports ad sales.

This will be the first Super Bowl that Winter, who was hired in January, will oversee for Fox. He stepped down in October 2016 as NBC Sports Group ad sales chief after presiding over the Rio Olympics and remained with the company in an advisory role through last year.

Fox is seeking around $5.5 million per 30-second spot in Super Bowl LIV. That would be an increase over pricing for this year’s game, where CBS sold ads for between $5.1 million and $5.3 million.

CBS’ Super Bowl haul resulted in an 18% advertising revenue increase in the first quarter, CBS told investors Thursday.

The Super Bowl will be a big part of Fox’s upfront push and will be featured at the company’s upfront presentation on May 13.

The Super Bowl’s linear audience fell below 100 million this year for the first time since 2009, to 98.2 million, but including digital and out-of-home viewers, the game’s total audience was 112.7 million.

Even with the ratings decline, the Super Bowl remains the most-watched program each year in the U.S. and the best opportunity to brands to reach a captive audience.

Following next year’s game on Fox, CBS and NBC will be swapping Super Bowl telecasts in 2021 and 2022, with CBS broadcasting Super Bowl LV in 2021, allowing NBC to pair Super Bowl LVI with the Winter Olympics in 2022, just as it did last year.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.