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The price of a Super Bowl ad has doubled in the last decade and now costs as much £4.2m for a 30-second commercial 

During the 54th edition of the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, there will be around 77 televised advertisements shown throughout the event alongside local advertisements. This year, the price of a Super Bowl ad during this event is higher than ever, despite a gradual decline viewership.

The NFL’s marquee match-up is the most-watched TV event in the US and is as much about as the festivities as it is the football. According to Benjamin Cross of NBC Sports, Fox sold all 77 ad spots back in November 2019, with each slot selling for around £4.2m ($5.6m), with over £302m ($400m) generated in total. That means the ‘average price of a Super Bowl commercial had nearly doubled in just a decade’.

Last year, 98 million people watched the New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, marking the lowest television audience of any Super Bowl and indicative of a gradual decline since 2015 when viewership peaked at 114m.

Since then, audience figures have dipped but the price of a Super Bowl ad has only continued to rise. Despite losing viewers in 2019, the Super Bowl still attracted more than 45m viewers than the next most-watched televised event, the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Chiefs (53.9m viewers).

Super Bowl 53 was nearly twice the size of the next most popular event last year, despite the ‘low’ numbers, and in the list of the 20 most-watched events since 2000 in America, the Super Bowl occupies 19 of a possible 20 spots.

Executive president of Fox Sports, Seth Winter, reflected on the unrivalled popularity the Super Bowl holds: “Clearly the NFL is still the most powerful media platform in all of sports and all of television. Advertisers have seen the restoration of healthy ratings and an environment that doesn’t create caution on their part, so they’ve dived headfirst into the NFL.”

Some of the adverts confirmed for the 2020 Super Bowl include Budweiser running an ad aimed at ‘the typical American’, Doritos running an ad featuring actor Sam Elliot and Lil Nas X and Cheetos showing a commercial with MC Hammer taking centre stage. In a pleasing twist for viewers, the NFL and Fox have agreed to fewer commercial breaks during Super Bowl 54 but won’t change the total number of ads.

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