NBC says it has sold out ad inventory for Super Bowl LII with less than 48 hours to go before the kickoff for the event, marking the first time in three years a network has publicly acknowledged it was able to secure advertisers for all the time in the much-anticipated game.
“Super Bowl LII is sold out,” said Dan Lovinger, executive vice president of advertising sales, NBC Sports Group,” in a statement. “We booked record revenue, and advertiser enthusiasm for the game is at an all-time high.”
NBC appears to have booked its last sponsors late Friday afternoon. The network was unable to confirm sell-out status when Variety inquired earlier in the day. Two sponsors on Friday – Toyota and Wix.com – announced they had purchased ad time in the game late this week.
The network has been seeking more than $5 million for a package of advertising related to the Super Bowl.
TV networks for years used to sell out a Super Bowl broadcast by the preceding fall, but ad buyers say a new plethora of football events – Thursday-night football games, streaming video of those games and the occasional YouTube broadcast – have slowed momentum behind the gridiron classic. Indeed, the last time a network announced sell-out weeks in advance took place when Fox managed to close out inventory for Super Bowl XLVIII – broadcast in 2014 – in December of the previous year. In 2017, Fox never said whether or not it had sold out its broadcast of Super Bowl LI. CBS made no sell-out announcement for its 2016 broadcast of Super Bowl 50. NBCU announced sell-out of its last Super Bowl broadcast – Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 – just days before kickoff.
In mid-January, NBC indicated it had fewer than ten 30-second spots left to sell in the February 4 broadcast of the event. Dan Lovinger, the executive who oversees sports ad sales for NBCUniversal, indicated the company expected the Super Bowl to generate around $500 million in national TV advertising associated with its broadcast, pre- and post-game shows, and a special post-event broadcast of “This Is Us.” That’s essentially what the first two hours of NBC’s “Today” generates over the course of a year. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said during a late-January conference call with Comcast investors that the game was “essentially sold out” – but to people in the industry, such a phrase means there’s still some business left to be done.
TV networks typically sell around 70 30-second commercial slots in a Super Bowl, but that tally is likely to be confused by a significant number of longer ads the network said clients have purchased.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Mars’ M&Ms and Hyundai are among the advertisers taking part in this year’s advertising antics.