US broadcast network Fox has announced it has already sold out all its advertising inventory for Super Bowl LIV, which is scheduled to take place at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on February 2, 2020.
By contrast, this year CBS did not declare a sell-out of commercial inventory of Super Bowl LIII until just hours before the game aired on February 3. In 2018, NBC announced a sell-out 48 hours before the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles squared off in Minneapolis.
Fox has been selling 30-second ads during National Football League’s showpiece event for as much as $5.6m. This compares to CBS charging approximately $5.2m for a 30-second spot at the 2019 event.
Fox’s ad sales efforts have been boosted by the NFL’s ratings increase this season. But the main reason why Fox is charging more than CBS is because there will be fewer ad breaks – four per quarter rather than five – following a new agreement with the NFL.
With all the in-game inventory sold, Fox is now seeking between $2m-$3m for the most expensive advertising slots in its pre- and post-game coverage.
“We have sold all of our in-game inventory in the Super Bowl,” says Seth Winter, Fox’s executive vice president of sports sales. “There are a number of advertisers, frankly, who couldn’t land their spots with us because their creative wasn’t ready or because of some indecisiveness, so we are going to go to pre- and post-game inventory to land their units.”
According to reports, CBS earned $382m in ad sales for the 2019 Super Bowl, down from $408m (NBC) in 2018 and $419m (Fox) in 2017. The viewing audience for Super Bowl LIII was an average of 98.2 million viewers, the smallest total since 2008.
Winter added that there will be some “long-form” advertising spots during the Super Bowl which will last longer than a minute.