CBS Scores Touchdown for Superbowl Ads

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It’s not just the big game of the year for football. Between the halftime show and the all-star lineup of the most hyped TV ads of the year, many viewers tune in to the Superbowl for the commercials and entertainment as much as the game itself.

This knowledge not lost on network executives, Superbowl ad slots come at some of the highest price tags in the industry. Veterans like the Budweiser Clydesdales line up next to startups betting their nest egg on the chance to reach 115 million viewers.

This year CBS scored a record breaking victory of their own. According to a company spokesperson, the network reports it is already “virtually sold out” of all Superbowl advertising inventory – a process that can typically carry on right up to the final hours before kickoff. In recent years, networks hosting the Superbowl haven’t sold off every last ad spot until days before the event.

Making the win more astonishing, it comes amid a sluggish advertising climate for the media sector, which has seen cashflow from ad revenue lag in the wake of Hollywood strikes and generalized insecurity over the economy. In many cases, TV networks have been forced to give “rollbacks” (rate reductions) to lure advertisers who are moving increased portions of their budgets to streaming and digital.

Further, the addition of Thursday Night Football has given advertisers options that don’t break the bank as much as Superbowl spots, but still offer a chance to align themselves with the NFL audience.

One key element of Paramount Global’s strategy, who owns CBS network, was to avoid a significant price increase. During Superbowl 2023, Fox asked between $6 and $7 million for a 30-second slot during the game, resulting in $600 million in ad revenue as the event posted record viewership. CBS has been seeking $6.5 to $7 million for a comparable spot.

Paramount is also offering a new twist on Superbowl viewership. A bespoke broadcast of the football game tailored to a kids’ audience will air on Nickelodeon – complete with ads designed to be appropriate for younger viewers.

Whatever the magic formula, CBS has set a new benchmark in selling out ad space by October before game day. With the extra time available to create those much anticipated commercials, one wonders what the ads will be like in Superbowl 2024? Continue reading here.

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