By Barry Janoff
January 14, 2017: Although the two teams that will compete for the NFL championship in Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in NRG Stadium, Houston, have yet to be determined, the roster of companies that will seek to reach the eyeballs of 100 million-plus viewers is well established.
Among those brands that will be showing their wares on Fox are Anheuser-Busch, Audi, Avocados from Mexico, Procter & Gamble (Febreze, Mr. Clean), GoDaddy, Intel, Mars Inc. (Skittles, Snickers), Intuit’s TurboTax, WeatherTech and Wix.com; and, as usual, a bevy of automakers, including General Motors (Buick), Honda, Kia and Mercedes-Benz.
The average price for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl has doubled over the past decade, reaching a then-record $4.8 million last year during Super Bowl 50 on CBS (played in Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area), according to research and consulting firm Kantar Media, NY.
That mark will be topped for the coming Super Bowl LI, with Fox asking upward of $5 million for 30 seconds of air time, according to industry analysts,
From 2007 through 2016, in-game Super Bowl advertising — commercials taking place between opening kick-off and the final whistle — generated almost $2.6 billion of network advertising sales from more than 130 marketers, making it one of the most valuable sports franchises in the U.S., according to Kantar Media just release Super Bowl Advertising report.
The NFL’s Super Bowl is "the most expensive commercial time on television by far," according to Kantar.
The next two most costly properties in 2016 were also NFL properties, both played on Jan. 24: the NFC Championship game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers on Fox, which went for $2.2 million per 30 seconds; and the AFC Championship between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos on CBS, which went for $1.8 million per 30 seconds.
In 2016, sponsors paid nearly $370 million for in-game messages. When pre- and post-game programming is added in, the total hits $445 million for the one-day event, according to Kantar Media.
That was almost equal to the "combined ad revenue of the four major broadcast networks in an average week for their entire programming schedules. And it exceeds the full-year ad expenditures on some national cable TV networks," said Kantar.
The $4 million 30-second spot has been the norm for the past few Super Bowls.
During Super Bowl XLIX (NBC, University of Phoenix Stadium) advertisers paid $4.4 million for a half minute, $4.2 million at Super Bowl XLVIII (Fox, MetLife Stadium, eat Rutherford, NJ), $4 million at Super Bowl XLVII (CBS, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans),
A 30-second $3 million spot was the standard before that, most recently the $3.5 million paid during Super Bowl XLVI (NBC, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis).
A 30-second spot hit the $3 million mark for the second time in 2011 when it reached $3.1 million at Super Bowl XLV (Fox, now AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas). That followed the $2.98 million mark during Super Bowl XLIV (CBS,now Hard Rock Stadium Miami), which dropped from $3 million during Super Bowl XLIII (NBC, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa).
The price tags in the two Super Bowls prior to that were $2.7 million at Super Bowl XLII (Fox, University of Phoenix Stadium) and $2.39 million during Super Bowl XLI (CBS, now Hard Rock Stadium, Miami).
During Super Bowl 50, there were 96 spots totaling 49:35 minutes, per Kantar. That was up from the previous two Super Bowls — 82 spots running for 48 minutes during Super Bowl XLIX and 83 spots running form 49:15 during Super Bowl XLVIII — but down from Super Bowl XLVII, which had 97 spots running a Super Bowl broadcast record 51:40 minutes; and also fewer than the record 104 spots that ran during Super Bowl XLIV for 47:50 minutes.
Anheuser-Busch In Bev — which has exclusive national broadcast rights in the beer category — was the leading advertiser in 2016 with expenditures of $33.6 million.
The beer maker has been either No. 1 or No. 2 in the annual rankings for some 35 consecutive years and has invested more than $520 million in the game (not adjusted for inflation) during this period, per Kantar.
The brand holds the official beer sponsorship for the NFL through 2022.
Anheuser-Busch is followed by Fiat Chrysler ($19,2 million), PepsiCo ($19.2 million, which includes Doritos, Frito-Lay and Pepsi), Germany-based Deutsche Telekom ($14.4 million), Honda ($14.4 million), Toyota ($14.4 million) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($14.4 million).
The top advertisers during Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 were Anheuser-Busch ($30.8 million), Fiat Chrysler ($30.8 million), Comcast ($26.4 million), Toyota ($26.4 million) and Microsoft ($17.6 million).
The car category is tops in spending, with nine companies driving a total of $86.4 million during Super Bowl 50, although down from $96.8 million during Super Bowl XVIX (also nine companies) and a category record $113.4 million during Super Bowl XLVIII (11 companies).
Also among the top-spending categories are food and candy with $33.6 million last year and $22 million in 2015; and motion pictures, with a $28.8 million ad spend during Super Bowl 50 and $35.2 million during Super Bowl XLIX.
Brands certainly are getting ROI via eyeballs for their spend.
An average audience of 111.9 million watched Super Bowl 50 and even more, 115.5 million, watched the Pepsi Halftime Show with Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay, according to the NFL.
The only Super Bowl games to attract larger audiences were Super Bowl XLIX (a record 114.4 million, a record 118.5 million for the Katy Perry starring halftime show) and Super Bowl XLVIII (112.2 million, 115.3 million for the halftime show with Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers).
Analysts predict another 115 million-plus for this year’s Pepsi Zero Sugar Halftime Show featuring Lady Gaga.
Even with this, according to Kantar, the Olympics is still king of ad and sales revenue.
The 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro topped $1.96 billion in TV ad money over 19 days, with NBCUniversal holding the broadcast rights in the U.S. That bested the $1.33 billion from the London Summer Games in 2012 and the $977 million generated during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, according to Kantar.
By comparison, the 2016 NBA Finals seven-game series between the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the defending champion Golden State Warriors generated a record $303 million in TV ad money for ABC.
In 2015 the six-game series between the Warriors and Cavs generated $251 million.
The 2016 World Series, which saw the Chicago Cubs take their first MLB title in 108 years (in seven games over the Cleveland Indians), generated a record $394 million in TV ad money for Fox. That by far topped the previous mark of $257 million during the seven-game series in 2014 between the World Champion San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.
There were ten first-time Super Bowl advertisers last year, including Amazon, FitBit, PayPal, Quicken Loands and LG; and 11 in 2015, according to Kantar.
Rookies this year include 84 Lumber and GNC,
Do freshman marketers return as sophomores to the following Super Bowl? The odds are against it, says the Kantar report.
Over the past decade, more than 60% of first-timers were on the sidelines the next year, according to Kantar Media.