Thursday, September 11, 2008


New poll: this one’s focuses on the first über-hyped game of the college football season, but it’ll be up until next Thursday.

Meanwhile, we’re just in Week One of the NFL season and there’s already significant Super Bowl news.

NBC will take its turn on the broadcasting wheel this year for the NFL’s championship game in Tampa, Florida. Earlier today, the Peacock proudly announced that not only have they already sold 80% of their advertising inventory for the game, but they have “a dozen or so advertisers” who purchased 30-second spots for $3 million.

Three. Million. Dollars.

$100,000 per second.

That’s about a month’s rent in Beacon Hill or Daly City, right?

In all seriousness, it’s an absolutely staggering figure that hopefully receives its own in-depth analysis within the advertising and marketing trade media. The asking price has grown each year for a milieu of reasons, yet there is no denying how $3 million became the latest threshold.

Last year, the writer’s strike put broadcast networks at a standstill. Reruns and reality television were not desired avenues for companies to promote their goods and services. Though viewers gravitated towards cable programming in droves, those paid channels do not command the audiences that broadcast networks can offer.

Just as real estate in your nearby up-and-coming neighborhood, there were few prime spots in a weakened economy. Those few bastions of advertising potential turned out to be live sports. Live sports are considered DVR-proof as viewers are less likely to fast-forward through ads or record games for later viewing. In the States, the television events with the biggest audiences are typically sporting events; notably baseball and basketball games featuring the highest-profiled teams, players and/or markets and NFL games because of a short season with dedicated days for action.

The Super Bowl XLII broadcaster, FOX, knew that any event with a huge national audience had to make up for the lack of scripted fare. The network decided to increase the price of a 30-second ad to upwards of $2.7 million, a 15% increase from the year before.

If you know a competitor was able to pry $2.7 million from a vendor for essentially the same service, wouldn’t you consider boosting the price?

Though this is less about the pigskin – after all, no one has even played two regular season games in September yet – you wonder if the reason behind NBC’s eagerness to boast about its Super Bowl buys has to do with their success in broadcasting the Beijing Olympics a couple of weeks ago.

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