The Super Bowl is an event where the ads are almost as important as the game. Over the years, attention to the commercials has grown to the point where you can preview them on YouTube and other sites before the Big Game. Because the Super Bowl draws the year’s biggest television audience, it’s no wonder why advertisers line up to spend millions of dollars for a 30-second ad. And Advertising Age has found that sponsors have spent $4.9 billion since the Super Bowl began in 1967.

This year, advertisers will spend a record $385 million on Super Bowl LI on Fox. That’s the payoff for rightsholders who have forked out billions to air NFL games.

For Super Bowl I which aired both on CBS and NBC, the average cost of a 30-second ad was $40,000. For Super Bowl LI, a 30-second ad will cost on average $5 million.

The figures over the last 51 years are quite astounding when you think about it. And while you may think the ad prices have kept growing, there were actually five years when they dropped, Super Bowl V (1971), Super Bowl XXX (1996), Super Bowl XXXVII (2003), Super Bowl XLI (2007) and Super Bowl XLIV (2010).

The biggest percent price increases came for Super Bowl II in 1968, a 35% hike from Super Bowl I and in Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 which became known as the “Dot.com” game as 17 internet startups bought time.

The first time a Super Bowl ad topped $1 million — 1995
The first time a Super Bowl ad topped $2 million — 2000
The first time a Super Bowl ad topped $3 million — 2009
The first time a Super Bowl ad topped $4 million — 2013
The first time a Super Bowl ad topped $5 million — 2017

The Super Bowl is a event where people gather to watch and the people pay attention to the ads. Based on the pattern, it looks like the $6 million level will be reached around 2021 with no end in sight.

Advertisers may come and go, but if one like Doritos leaves, another like Mercedes-Benz is there to come in. There’s no lack of sponsors for the Big Game so as long as viewers continue to watch in the hundreds of millions, advertisers will still want to buy ads.

[Advertising Age]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.