Commentary

20 Years of Superbowls Yielded 1400 Commercials and 1.72 Billion Ad Dollars

20 Years of Superbowls Yielded 1400 Commercials and 1.72 Billion Ad Dollars

According to TNS Media Intelligence, advertising during the Super Bowl game has accounted for 682 minutes, over 11 full hours, of commercial time throughout the past 20 years (1987-2006). Those 11 hours represent 221 different advertisers, more than 1,400 commercial announcements and translate into $1.72 billion of network advertising sales.

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The top five Super Bowl advertisers of the past 20 years have spent $613.4 million on advertising during the game, accounting for 35 percent of total advertising dollars spent in the game.

The FedEx Corporation, as the fifth top advertiser through 2005, was replaced in this year's report (covering 1987-2006) by Walt Disney. This is especially interesting as FedEx Corporation has advertised with the Super Bowl for 19 years, while Walt Disney has only advertised with the Super Bowl for the past seven years.

Top 5 Super Bowl Advertisers (1987-2006)

Rank

Advertiser

# of Years With Ads In Game

Ad Spend (
($ millions)

1

Anheuser Busch

20

$ 250.8

2

Pepsico

20

$ 190.0

3

General Motors

15

$ 65.7

4

Time Warner

11

$ 63.4

5

Walt Disney

7

$ 43.5

Top 5 Total

$ 613.4

Source: TNS Media Intelligence, January 2007

Each year, about 62 percent of the network TV ad money invested in the game comes from incumbent marketers who ran commercials the previous year.

Jon Swallen, senior vice president of Research at TNS Media Intelligence, said "While that's a very high retention rate, it's actually lower than the comparable rate for two other showcase TV events. Over the past 10 years, the average dollar retention rate has been 78 percent for the Academy Awards and 67 percent for the World Series," said.

The cost of an advertisement in the Super Bowl has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years, reaching $2.5 million in 2006 for a 30-second unit. For the 2007 game, CBS is reportedly fetching over $2.6 million for each 30-second spot.

Superbowl Advertising Rates (1987-2006)

Year

Cost :30 Unit ($000)

Total Ad Revenue ($ millions)

1987

$ 600

$ 31.5

1992

850

48.2

1997

1200

72.2

2001

2,100

136.4

2002

2,200

134.2

2003

2,150

124.7

2004

2,302

147.3

2005

2,400

159.2

2006

2,500

162.5

Source: TNS Media Intelligence, January 2007

Ad sales in the pre- and post-game coverage, plus ad sales by the network's local affiliate stations, are important components when considering the Super Bowl as an ad revenue-generating machine. For every dollar spent on network in-game ads, these ancillary sources contribute as much as an extra 74 cents.

Ancillary Ad Spend Around The Super Bowl

1996

2001

2006

Network In-Game

$ 69.4

$ 136.4

$ 162.5

Network Pre/Post Game

$ 22.7

$ 29.5

$ 78.1

Local TV (Top 75 markets)

$ 21.3

$ 28.9

$ 42.2

Totals

$ 113.41

$ 194.8

$ 233.8

"Lift" from ancillary sources

+63%

+43%

+74%

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

The popular perception is that beer, soft drinks and autos are the most frequently advertised on the Super Bowl categories, given their annual presence in the game. However, the perennial leader is promotional advertising from the network itself. In a typical Super Bowl, one-fourth of all commercial time is a plug by the network for its own programming. The value of that air time in 2006 alone exceeded $52 million.

Network Promotions In The Super Bowl

Time (mm:ss)

% of All Ad Time

Value ($ millions)

2001

5:55

19.1%

$ 24.9

2002

6:55

22.6%

$ 30.4

2003

10:55

31.0%

$ 46.9

2004

9:10

26.1%

$ 42.2

2005

9:45

26.2%

$ 46.8

2006

10:25

22.0%

$ 52.1

Source: TNS Media Intelligence, January 2007

The Major League Baseball's World Series and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship are two other high-profile sporting events that attract significant interest from TV advertisers. While the World Series has a higher advertiser retention rate than the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl still rakes in more network TV ad dollars than each of the other multi-game events.

Major Sporting Championships Network TV Ad Revenue ($ Millions)

Super Bowl( Game

World Series (# games)

NCAA Basketball(

Final Four (# games)

2001

$ 136.4

$ 136.3 (7)

$ 88.7 (3)

2002

$ 134.2

$ 141.7 (7)

$ 101.9 (3)

2003

$ 124.7

$ 124.9 (6)

$ 117.6 (3)

2004

$ 147.3

$ 114.6 (4)

$ 126.4 (3)

2005

$ 159.2

$ 147.5 (4)

$ 142.2 (3)

2006

$ 162.5

$ 160.8 (5)

$ 154.7 (3)

Source: TNS Media Intelligence

For more information, please visit TNS Media Intelligence here.

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