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CBS Says Super Bowl Ad Slots Are Filling Up

Ever since the NFL launched “Thursday Night Football,” the Super Bowl has been a harder sell for advertisers. But CBS says it has commitments for “more than 90%” of its available commercial inventory with about a month to go before the game.

Ads in the third quarter have sold out, with scattered availability in the first half of the game and some openings in the fourth quarter, said John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales and marketing. The network has seen good demand from automakers, movie studios, beer and soda marketers and technology companies, said Jo Ann Ross, CBS’ president of ad sales and chief advertising revenue officer. What’s more, CBS has secured a title sponsor for each pre-game and post-game hour of programming, Ross said.

CBS has been seeking between $5.1 million and $5.3 million for a package of inventory that often includes a 30-second TV ad and some digital inventory, according to people familiar with negotiations for ad time in the gridiron classic.

CBS gave a presentation Thursday to discuss its plans for broadcasting Super Bowl LIII on February 3 from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The network will broadcast seven hours of pre-game coverage and use the game to give audiences a peek at its new reality-competition program, “The World’s Best,” hosted by James Corden, as well as a special Sunday-night broadcast of Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show.”

In the not-so-distant past, the TV network selling the Super Bowl often declared sell-out in the fall before the game. Now ad-sales executives face a different era, one in which potential sports sponsors have more regular-season football available to them at prices that are cheaper than ad slots in the Super Bowl. They also face a decision about advertising in an event with a price tag well past $5 million. Sure, a big and even medium-sized advertiser can afford the media time for the big-game commercial. But there are other costs, too  – like special effects, licensing popular songs, and enlisting various celebrities to appear in an ad. Some marketers also invest heavily in social-media outreach and marketing programs in retail stores to augment the TV ad’s effect.

CBS ad-sales executives said they believed they had secured a better percentage of sell-out for a month before the game than other networks in recent years. NBC in 2018 confirmed sell-out of Super Bowl LII with just 48 hours before kick off, while Fox in 2017 declined to say if it had sold out its broadcast of Super Bowl LI.

CBS is “in discussions” with the White House about a possible pre-game interview with President Donald Trump. said Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports, but nothing has been finalized at present.

 

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