The advertising market is moving at a glacial pace for two of the biggest ticket items of 2010-Super Bowl XLIV and the Winter Olympics. Though the events are less than six months away, their
network rights holders both have considerable inventory left to sell, and ad buyers seem content to wait until much closer to the events to make their buys.
While NBC is said to be
holding the line on its pricing for the Olympics, ad buyers described CBS as more flexible, with the average cost of an A-position 30-second spot during the Super Bowl dropping from the $3 million
that NBC pulled last year. One of the reasons for the slow market is the late-moving-and sluggish-upfront. Buyers expect NBC and CBS to write the bulk of their sports business in the weeks before
the events at prices anywhere from 2% to 8% down.
Of the two events, industry sources say NBC is experiencing a tougher market with the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, which fall in the middle of the February sweeps. Its efforts to fill those slots have been hindered by a lack of participation from U.S. Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee corporate partners. Some, like Bank of America, General Motors, and Home Depot, pulled their Olympic sponsorships in 2009. Others, like Allstate and Acer, are official Olympic sponsors but aren't planning big media buys.