Super Bowl Videocast Scores Major Ad Dollars

The NFL is asking for sky-high advertising dollars for the streaming videocast of the Super Bowl to be aired on NFL and NBC sites.

The price tag comes to a whopping $55 cost per thousand viewers [CPMs]  -- with big existing NFL sponsors getting first crack at buying the game online, according to media-buying executives. One of the NFL's big sponsorship partners, General Motors, has bought up the car online exclusivity category, according to one executive.

By way of comparison, the traditional TV airing of the Super Bowl is roughly priced at $35 CPM -- for an estimated 100 million TV viewers and a $3.5 million per 30-second commercial price tag. The Webcast, also to run on Verizon mobile phones, would run in conjunction with the traditional TV airing on NBC Television Network on February 5.

According to one media executive's estimate, if the online version of the game gets 5% of the audience of its TV audience -- around 100 million viewers, a level the game has pulled in over the past few years --  this would come to 5 million Internet viewers. This would equate to a price tag of $275,000 per 30-second commercial.

On hearing this news, one media executive said: "It's crazy expensive. I don't believe it to be additive audience, but complementary to core TV offering, given it's primarily a social setting event." Another media buying executive said:  "A $55 CPM is very high. We'd never do that."

Media executives say the seven major NFL sponsors have been getting first crack at the streaming video opportunity, with these partners pushed to ink deals for category exclusivity, pegged to specific media spending levels. Per executives, about half of these major sponsors have bought in, including GM. Some other major NFL sponsors include PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Visa, Nike, Verizon, and Gatorade.

The package would include a "companion" display ad -- one that would run outside the frame of the video. Separate display advertising, the price tag for banners targeted to other NFL content, has been set at $14 CPM (300x250) and $12 CPM (728x90).

If any of the NFL's major sponsorship partners declines to buy, then the opportunity is presented to other TV advertisers running TV spots on-air during the Super Bowl. After this, the inventory has been pitched to non-Super Bowl TV advertisers.

An NFL representative did not return messages by press time.

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