Clinton Trump ads

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump managed to get several ads on Fox’s coverage of Game Seven of the World Series Wednesday night. That’s not an easy task, considering that Fox was reportedly charging over $500,000 for a 30-second spot on the game given the massive expected audience, and that advertisers were lining up to buy them. According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, both Clinton and Trump booked three ads each (one of Clinton’s was 60 seconds), and the NRA also booked a 30-second ad in support of Trump. However, the campaigns don’t have to pay quite as much as others:

The Trump campaign has booked three commercial spots on the nationwide broadcast of Wednesday night’s Cubs-Indians matchup, a campaign spokesman said.

The Clinton campaign has also booked three spots, according to a spokesman, but one of them is a 60-second ad, for a total equivalent of four spots.

A source at Fox, the network broadcasting the game, confirmed the ad time reservations.

But the details are subject to change right up until air time. And not all ad time is created equal. Only one of Trump’s spots is “fixed,” or guaranteed to run at a specific time during the game. The other two spots will be “floating.”

Clinton’s spots are also “floating,” the Fox source said. While the spots aren’t guaranteed to air at specific times, the campaign ad spots have been booked and the network will strive to fit them all in.

The market price for an ad during Game 7 exceeds $500,000, but the campaigns will be paying less. That is because broadcasters are legally required to give candidates the “lowest unit rate” for ad time in the weeks before an election.

Don’t feel too bad for Fox, though. According to Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith, they’ve managed to double ad prices since the start of the series and have raised them by 20 per cent over Monday’s Game Six:

21st Century Fox Inc. is charging more than $500,000 for a 30-second ad during Wednesday night’s World Series finale, according to a person familiar with the matter, a price that’s about doubled since the series began.

Intense interest in the matchup between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, the two teams with the longest title droughts in baseball, have pushed Fox’s ratings — and its ad rates — to recent highs. The $500,000 price tag is up about 20 percent over Tuesday’s Game 6, when the network was charging about $400,000, according to an ad buyer who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Smith also notes that these prices are still below some other slots, such as Sunday Night Football, and that may be thanks to selling them at the last minute. Still, Fox is doing very, very well here:

A $500,000 ad is expensive for baseball broadcasts, but it’s not Super Bowl money. It’s not even “Sunday Night Football” money. A 30-second spot on NBC’s prime-time weekend game costs about $674,000 on average, making it the most expensive commercial time on television, according to Ad Age.

Fox has been selling ads for Games 5, 6 and 7 as those games have been scheduled. (Advertisers are reluctant to pay for slots in games that might not happen.) That has its advantages — Fox can use the big audience numbers to raise prices — and its downsides: the network’s ad sales team has scrambled to get the commercial time sold, selling ads for Game 7 until the last minute possible, the person said. Fox can also use the World Series to compensate advertisers for ratings declines on its other cable networks, the ad buyer said.

The big World Series ratings are a relief to the media industry, which has seen audiences shrinking for several major live sporting events this year, including the Olympics, National Football League games and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.