×

NBCU Says Super Bowl Ads Are Sold Out

NBCUniversal said it has closed the sales process for its February 1 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX, selling out the game, the post-game show, the game’s digital stream and nearly all of the inventory in its pre-game coverage with just days to go before the kickoff at the massive media event.

The company estimates it has more than 70 national commercials in the game, and has just a few openings in the earlier part of its pre-game coverage, according to Seth Winter, exec VP of advertising sales for NBCU’s news and sports properties.

“This was not the easiest exercise I’ve been through,” said Winter, making reference to a slower pace of sales for the broadcast than Fox experienced for Super Bowl XLVIII, “but at the end of the day, we came through with flying colors.” Sales “solidified” over the last few weeks, he noted.

NBCUniversal faced headwinds for its Super Bowl process almost from the start, with some advertisers balking last May at a record price for time in the game: NBC sought between $4.4 million and $4.5 million for a 30-second ad berth during the event, only to find out that auto advertisers, who have made up a large part of the game’s ad roster in past years, were not as interested in the 2015 opportunity.

In a signal that closing out sales was tougher than usual, this year’s game will feature 15 rookie sponsors. The freshman ranks encompass everything from Loctite, the maker of Super Glue, to Jublia, a toenail fungus treatment, to Mophie, a maker of smartphone accessories. Winter said he did not expect the swelling number of first-timers — said to be the biggest number of Super Bowl neophytes since the dot-com boom at the turn of the last century — to diminish the quality of the commercials. “It’s really based largely on the creative,” he said, noting that he not seen anything in his previews of the ads that caused him undue alarm.

Most Super Bowl advertisers decide to lock up a place in the game between May and the early fall of the year prior to the event, owing to the enormous amount of planning and coordination that has to be done with securing talent and storylines for the commercial as well as implementation of social media and public relations around the appearance. But one advertiser, Sprint, decided in early December to take part, said Jeff Hallock, the telco’s chief marketing officer, in an interview Wednesday.

“We are in a very competitive business and we are moving very quickly,” said Hallock. In a teaser ad expected to release soon, Sprint takes a poke at rivals Verizon and AT&T, which are likened to a screaming sheep, while describing a new “family plan.”  The Super Bowl has a powerful allure for advertisers, Hallock said. “It’s  a great audience that tunes in looking for advertising, which is an odd thing” at a time when viewers have more technology at their disposal that allows them to avoid commercials entirely.

Eighteen advertisers will fill the ad opportunities on NBCUniversal’s live-streamed coverage of the event, Winter said. All of them are also sponsors of the TV broadcast. TV networks typically limit the amount of advertising inventory around their digi-casts of the event.  He declined to offer a price range for digital ad units but said NBCU had secured an eight-digit figure in advertising revenue for the property.

 

More TV

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth

    The Messy NBC Democratic Debate Proves the Need for a Tier System (Column)

    The opening night of the first debates of the 2020 Democratic Party primaries brought — even by the standards of such way-far-out confrontations between candidates for whom the election remains a far-off dream — vastly more empty drama than new information. But then, that may have been by design. NBC News’s organization of the debates, [...]

  • Max Wright Dead

    'Alf' Actor Max Wright Dies at 75

    Max Wright, best known for playing patriarch Willie Tanner on the sitcom “Alf,” died Wednesday. He was 75. Wright’s family confirmed his death to TMZ. The actor died in his home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., after years of battling cancer. Wright was diagnosed with Lymphona in 1995. Wright is most famous for his role as [...]

  • Greyson Chance -Gabby Barrett Alejandro Aranda

    Greyson Chance, 'Idol' Alums Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda Sign Major Label Deals

    Two “American Idol” alumni — Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda — as well as viral star Greyson Chance all announced new major label recording contracts this week. Barrett, who finished in third place of the first season of the rebooted ABC version of “Idol,” has joined the roster of Warner Music Nashville. The singer had [...]

  • amazon-studios

    YouTube Head of Scripted Jon Wax in Talks to Join Amazon Studios

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming, Jon Wax, is in talks to join Amazon Studios, according to an individual with knowledge of the matter. Wax is said to be in discussions for head of genre programming at Amazon, a position held by Sharon Tal Yguado until recently. Variety reported on her exit in early May. The [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA Takes Aim at Endeavor IPO, Tells Members It Has 'Sufficient Funds' for Legal Battle

    The Writers Guild of America has gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its battle with Hollywood’s largest talent agencies over the issue of packaging fees and affiliated production. The guild sent a letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, the guild accuses WME parent company Endeavor of misrepresenting the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content