Not sure that being 90% sold out of the biggest TV event in mid-November for an event to air February is a big deal -- or a big story.
Yet NBC’s name was everywhere in the press recently, with the worry that the network is behind. A year ago, by September Fox was 95% sold in the Super Bowl.
Well, excuse me! Only 90% sold out.
Oh, and by the way, NBC has also been selling 2015 Super Bowl spots for $4.5 million for a 30-second announcement versus the Fox price tag of $4.0 million a year ago. Yeah, things are tough. That’s a 12.5% increase from a year ago. I feel for all those involved.
Analysts' (and perhaps NBC's) concern was that fewer TV spots have been sold to auto advertisers so far in this year’s event. Automotives have been a bellwether category for TV ad sales executives for years.
Seth Winter, executive vp of ad sales of the NBC Sports and NBCUniversal News Groups at NBCUniversal, told other publications that the slower-moving Super Bowl ads mean NBC is not “impervious to general market trends” -- that being a current slowdown in the national TV marketplace.
Still, 90% sold?
I tell you what: Go on the record when your sports or TV programming property is 30% or 40% sold -- and that TV program starts in a week. Then you have a story to tell.
To be sure, the existing NFL contracts with TV networks are at an all-time high, and could go higher despite a host of issues: allegations of NFL players' domestic abuse, and long-term effects of head trauma and other injuries.
No matter. The Super Bowl grows viewership and advertising revenue. Collateral damage? Maybe a continued shift of some traditional advertisers moving on. But all that just leaves room for new companies to move in. Winter says he has a bunch of new advertisers.
Bigger picture TV advertising worries come from a general market advertising slowdown -- which was apparent in the third quarter for many big media companies and could spill over into the most important fourth quarter and first quarter 2015 scatter market periods.
Media executives report the marketplace is tough to read because TV advertisers are buying much closer to air time -- not necessarily because they’ll be spending less.
Should we be worried about a specific TV program that makes deals at big 12.5% increases -- with a handful of spots remaining and two and a half months left to sell that advertising inventory?
TV advertising problems are super in other areas.