Super Bowl Update: Slow Pregame Sell, 4 Game Spots Remain
In a call to journalists on Tuesday, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, said the saving grace for the network was that the bulk of its Super Bowl inventory was sold before the economy began to tank.
The Pittsburgh Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Feb. 1.
As of Tuesday, NBC had just four of 67 spots left to sell. Many of its recent deals were in the high $2 million range, said Ebersol--a bit off NBC's initial asking price of $3 million.
Last year, when Fox had the Super Bowl, that network moved faster than NBC. Overall, it virtually sold out by Thanksgiving. It is believed that Fox averaged $2.7 million for each of its 30-second commercial units.
Still, NBC seems poised to pull in $200 million for the game itself, which would be a bit more than Fox grabbed in 2008. But overall, NBC might be down for the day--or even with Fox--as pre-game advertising sales are poised to be sold at a discount.
One recent in-game spot that was secured went to the NBC Universal/ News Corp. video site Hulu.com. But because the site is co-owned by NBC, it isn't known whether Hulu is paying for the Super Bowl commercial.
Early in the sales process, NBC was hit with some pullbacks from long-time Super Bowl advertisers, such as General Motors and FedEx, which declined to buy into the game this year. But others stepped in, such as foreign carmaker Hyundai Motor North America, and two first-time buyers: restaurant chain Denny's and pet-food manufacturer, Pedigree.