Super Bowl Will Have Fewer, Longer Ad Breaks

The National Football League and Fox are making a change in the Super Bowl that is expected to make television’s most watched event easier for viewers to watch.

Super Bowl LIV will have four commercial breaks during each quarter instead of five breaks per quarter. The four breaks will be longer and the total number of ad minutes in the game will be unchanged.

Commercials in the Super Bowl are expensive--Fox is expected to ask more than $5.5 million for a 30-second spot--but they are viewed, discussed, reviewed and rated by a huge audience. Super Bowl LIII drew an average of 98.2 million viewers.

The four-commercial break format has been used for NFL playoff games in 2017 and 2018, but it hasn’t been seen in the Super Bowl since the early 80s.

Fox and the NFL have research that shows having fewer breaks improves both the in-stadium and TV experience for fans, a source said.

There is also research that the new format generate more viewer engagement because they perceive a better-paced game. That produces improve viewer retention through commercials, raising ratings and improving ad recall, potentially making Super Bowl spots even more valuable.

“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, executive VP Fox Sports ad sales.

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.