Report: CBS expects strong Super Bowl ad sales, but quiet on details
- With Super Bowl LIII less than a month away, CBS is expecting strong ad sales, according to sources cited in an Adweek report. The network has limited inventory left, mostly in the second half of the game.
- However, the network has been unusually quiet about ad sales around the big game this year, since the departure of former chairman and CEO Les Moonves, who used to boast about CBS’ Super Bowl ad numbers. Interim CEO Joseph Ianniello is not being as public about Super Bowl ad sales.
- CBS has reportedly been receiving around $5 million for 30-second Super Bowl spots this year, similar to what NBC received last year.
Advertisers, as well as CBS, are hoping for higher Super Bowl ratings this year given how much they typically spend on ads. Last year's big game saw a linear audience of 103.4 million on NBC, the lowest-rated Super Bowl telecast since 2009 and a 7% decrease from Fox’s 2017 average. Analysts have predicted a renewed interest, including higher viewership and stronger ad revenue, for professional sports leagues, since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in May, and a handful of states now offer legal sports betting. Marketers are likely to be watching closely to see what impact, if any, the change in law will have on ratings and ad revenue.
Marketers have been showing an interest in Super Bowl spots since Thanksgiving, as NFL ratings this year have increased 5% overall in total viewers, according to Adweek. While advertiser demand has been strong for regular-season games, ad revenue dropped 19% in the September-October period, with the number of 30-second spots falling 6%, a Standard Media Index report showed. Broadcast revenue fell 7%.
Along with its usual TV push, the NFL expanded access to live games via digital platforms this season. The move led to a 65% jump in viewership on digital platforms from 2017 through week four of the season, with the average minute audience at 326,000 viewers per game window across different platforms, according to the league. Last year, many advertisers ran multi-platform campaigns to extend their reach and generate higher ROI outside of an in-game TV ad buy.
So far, Super Bowl advertisers have released few details about their campaigns. Despite the hefty price tag of a Super Bowl spot, brands often see sales increases and other benefits in the months following the big game. For example, Budweiser saw a sales volume increase of 3.9% and revenue jump 4.7% in the weeks following the game when it also advertised during other sports events, like March Madness, according to a joint study from Stanford University and Humboldt University.