Recession-Proof: Super Bowl Ads Top $200M


This year's Super Bowl is expected to exceed $200 million in advertising revenue -- the third straight year in a row for the big NFL game. 

Despite the recession, last year's game pulled in $205.2 million when it aired on CBS, according to Kantar Media. The previous year -- 2009 -- grabbed $213.0 million when running on NBC, the most to date.

Overall, the media research company says the game's revenue has climbed -- especially over the past seven years. In 2001, Kantar says the game pulled in $136.4 million, then dropped a bit for a few years. In 2003, revenue was $130.1; in 2005 it rose to $158.4 million; and in 2008, it reached $186.3 million. Since 2001, the game has pulled in $1.62 billion.

With so few major TV events grabbing big ratings, the Super Bowl continues to draw in marketers looking to spend a lot of their marketing dollars. Since 2001, Kantar says those marketers spending more than 10% of their annual media budget climbed from two advertisers to 13 last year.



Advertising time has also grown from 40 minutes, 15 seconds in 2001 -- or 82 messages -- to 45:10, or 84 messages in 2009. There was a big rise in 2010, to 47:50 and 104 commercials.

Which product is advertised the most on the Super Bowl? Not beers, movies or cars. Kantar says it's a network's programming promotion. "In a typical Super Bowl, 15% to 20% of all commercial time is a plug by the network for its own programming. In 2010, the value of this air time exceeded $49 million," says Kantar Media.

A record of 11 different car brands have announced Super Bowl deals for 2011, including nine different auto brands from six different parent companies; BMW; Chrysler Group; Daimler; General Motors; Hyundai; and Volkswagen. A year ago, car marketers spent nearly $30 million on 5½ minutes of air time in support of six different brands.

"With so many competing messages, it will be that much harder for any individual brand to stand out from the pack," says the study.

Over the last 10 years, Anheuser-Busch/InBev has spent the most on the Super Bowl, at $235.0 million, followed by Pepsico at $170.8 million, Walt Disney at $70.8 million, General Motors at $61.1 million and Coca-Cola at $54.4 million.

While the Super Bowl still commands the highest-priced commercial unit -- around $2.8 million to $3.0 million -- other major sports events can pull in total dollars that hold parity with the big game.

For example, five games of the World Series in 2010 pulled in $191.2 million compared to the Super Bowl's $205.2 million. The NCAA Final Four tournament took in $177.2 million for three games.


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