NBC Says Super Bowl Commercials 95% Sold

NBC says commercials for the Super Bowl are 95% sold out and that the network expects record-setting revenue for Super Sunday despite an ad market that shows weakness.

NBC executive VP Seth Winter said the network is ahead of its sales pace from the last time it aired the Super Bowl in 2012 and that just a handful of spots remain unsold. “We expect to be sold out by the time the kick off takes place,” Winter said, adding that he expects to exceed the network’s ambitious ad sales goals.

NBC has been seeking between $4.4 million and $4.5 million per Super Bowl spot. He says price has not been an issue in negotiations.

Winter added that the domestic violence issue has not been an issue either. This season, one advertiser said it would not sponsor the NFL or the Super Bowl this year after a video of a player punching his wife surfaced and another player was accused of beating his son.  He said the aggressive action taken by the league has satisfied most advertisers and that viewership remained high.

The auto category is not in gear for this Super Bowl, according to Winter. He said that more than 20 spots went to automakers in 2012 and this year it would be in the low teens. Some of the automakers sitting out the game did not have new products to promote, he said.

Making up for autos weakness are 15 new Super Bowl advertisers, most in relatively new digital businesses.

“The Super Bowl is still the biggest event of the year. So people still want to debut new creative and be part of the high profile nature that the big game is going to bring,” said Dan Cohn, client director at media buyer Initiative. “If you look at the ratings the past weekend for the Wild Card games, the NFL is still strong. It’s a strong place to be and put your media dollars against.”

Winter said that the Super Bowl post game is sold out and that the pre-game is virtually sold out. He said that those programs are popular because advertisers are reaching football fans without their ads being subject to the same level of critical scrutiny as the ones that air during the game. “Pregame is a safer haven,” he said.

NBC will also be streaming the game and is selling its limited digital inventory only to advertisers who purchase on air spots. At this point the Super Bowl stream is virtually sold out, he said.

Winter said that at $4.5 million, Super Bowl spots are a bargain. He said NBC research says the value of the exposure that Super Bowl advertisers get before, during and after the game is closer to $10 million. “We feel the Super Bowl is undervalued,” he said.

(Photo Credit: Rich Kane/Icon SMI 781/Rich Kane/Icon SMI/Newscom)

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.