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Stats Entertainment: Super Bowl Romps in View Totals and Ad Spending

Every year, Nielsen and Kantar Media offer up a treasure trove of interesting pre-Super Bowl data surrounding ad buys in the big game. Here is a gleaning of some fascinating media factoids.

  • The first Super Bowl was televised on Jan. 15, 1967 on both NBC and CBS simultaneously. The American Football League and National Football League had not yet merged; NBC had the TV rights for the AFL and CBS had the rights for the NFL. So, who won? Not surprisingly (given the longevity of the league) it was CBS, which drew 26.7 million viewers to the telecast, with NBC getting 24.4 million viewers. A 30-second commercial on the NBC telecast cost $37,000, while a spot on CBS telecast cost $42,000. That's about 1% of what a 30-second spot will cost in this year's Super Bowl on NBC.
  • The first year a Super Bowl commercial averaged more than $100,000 was in 1974 on CBS. Commercials averaged more than $200,000 for the first time in 1980 when the game aired on CBS. They passed the $500,000 threshold in 1985 on ABC and passed the $1 million average price mark in 1995 on NBC. And the first time they averaged more than $2 million for a commercial spot was in 2000 on ABC. Do we hear $3 million? That was in 2009, on NBC.
  • The first Super Bowl's total 51.1 million viewers was not surpassed until Super Bowl VI in 1972.
  • 9.6 million kids 2-11 watched last year's Super Bowl on Fox and another 8 million kids 12-17 watched the game. Among viewers 18-34, 25.3 million watched the game. The 55-plus number was 31.3 million viewers. And out of 110 million viewers last year, 50.9 million were women.

(Source for these statistics: Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen Monitor-Plus)

  • Over the past 10 years, the top five ad dollar spenders in the Super Bowl are: Anheuser-Busch InBev ($239.1 million); Pepsi ($174 million); General Motors ($82.3 million); Walt Disney ($73.9 million); and Coca-Cola ($66.8 million).
  • There were 46 minutes and 10 seconds worth of paid commercials, NFL messages and Fox programming ads and a total of 96 spots in last year's Super Bowl. That was the second highest total ever. The 2010 Super Bowl on CBS – with 47 minutes and 50 seconds of paid commercials, NFL promos and house ads, totaling 104 spots – still holds the record.
  • The 2011 Super Bowl featured 10 commercials that were 60 seconds long.
  • There were 29 paid advertisers in the 2011 Super Bowl; four of them – or, 11% of the total – were first time Super Bowl advertisers.
  • Automotive was the top ad spending category in last year's game, with $77.5 million spent on 18 commercials promoting 8 different brands (Audi, Cadillac, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen).
  • Nine advertisers in last year's game spent more than 10% of their annual ad budget on Super Bowl advertising.
  • Advertisers spent a total of $227 million on the 2011 Super Bowl, compared to $268 million spent cumulatively on the seven World Series games on Fox and $170 million on the three Final Four games on CBS in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament telecast.

(Source for these statistics: Kantar Media)