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NBC Begins Selling Ads for 2015 Super Bowl

Early sales are robust, says NBCU's sports ad-sales chief

Even before the kickoff for Super Bowl XLVIII takes place on Fox in a few weeks, NBC has made a dent in selling off the ad inventory it has for its 2015 broadcast of the pigskin classic.

The Peacock has sold a “double digit” number of ad berths for Super Bowl XLVIX, said Seth Winter, exec veep of sales and sales marketing for both NBC Sports Group and NBCUniversal News Group, told Variety in a brief interview Tuesday.  He declined to specify what percentage of ad inventory was sold or the price NBC was seeking.

To be sure, a certain portion of ad inventory for every Super Bowl moves earlier than many might expect. For one thing, perennial advertisers like Anheuser-Busch InBev and PepsiCo. often have longstanding deals. In recent years, a number of automotive companies have also raced to secure time, knowing that competition in the category has grown tougher.

Fox has sold out its ad inventory for its coming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The 21st Century Fox-owned broadcaster had been seeking around $4 million for a 30-second spot, giving rise to the notion that NBC is likely to seek an increase, particularly if Fox’s ratings are favorable and show an increase from last year, when CBS drew an average of 108.41 viewers.

Among ad buyers, it’s well-known that selling the first 75% of Super Bowl ad inventory is easy; it’s the last 25% that can be more challenging.

With NBC already out seeking Super Bowl ad commitments, ears may also be on the ground to determine whether CBS is making offers for its 2016 broadcast of the event. The Eye will transmit the 50th Super Bowl, which has already been dubbed “The L” – a nod to the Roman numeral assigned to the event – by CBS’ ad sales staff.

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