Fox Scores With Overtime Super Bowl Commercials

With Super Bowl LI going into overtime, Fox was a big winner along with the NFL champion New England Patriots.

Fox was able to squeeze four more in-game spots into its broadcast after the Patriot’s historic comeback to tie the game, helping it to boost what sources say was already the biggest deal in the network’s history in terms of advertising revenue.

Those extra ads probably ran when viewership hit an all-time high in television history as the Patriots earned a record-setting victory.

According to research company iSpot.TV, Fox generated revenue of $509.6 million during the game. It aired 104 spots for 65 different brands. The spots occupied 49.9 minutes of ad time.

Related: Fox Sports Go Super Bowl Stream Hits Fourth-Quarter Hiccup

Although it appeared to take longer than usual, Fox sold out its Super Bowl commercial inventory, charging in the neighborhood of $5 million each for those spots.

Networks regularly sell contingency packages in case games go into overtime. During the Super Bowl, Hulu, Sprint, ProActive and Sofi ran spots in the first overtime pod, the only one that aired because the Patriot's ended the game by taking the kickoff and scoring a touchdown on their first draive.

For Fox, the overtime Super Bowl follows a World Series that went seven games, with the seventh game going into extra innings as the Chicago Cubs drew the highest ratings in decades winning their first championship in 108 years.

The World Series ad haul is expected to bolster the ad revenue numbers when 21st Century Fox announces its earnings Monday afternoon.

Fox used the Super Bowl to boost the launch of its new series 24: Legacy, which aired after the game was over. It also promoted shows on cable networks FX and National Geographic Channel.

Related: Analyst Bets on Solution to Declining NFL Ratings

The thrilling Super Bowl capped a season in which the NFL was plagued by questions about lower ratings. Early in the season, ratings were down by double digits as football competed for attention with the election. But by the end of the season, NFL ratings were down 9% for the regular season and 6% for the playoffs. Primetime Sunday Night Football on NBC and Monday Night Football on ESPN finished down by low double digits.

Related: SMI: Ad Spending Rose 5.5% in December 

According to research firm Standard Media Index, ad revenue for the networks that air NFL games was up 1% over the course of the 2016 season.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.