Super Bowl LVIII on CBS Sports. Super Bowl LVIII on CBS. (CBS.)

The biggest winner of Super Bowl LVIII may have been CBS. Not only did they draw a record 123.4 million viewers across all platforms (including the main CBS broadcast, the Nickelodeon alternate feed, the Univision Spanish feed, and various streaming options for those feeds), they also capitalized on the Super Bowl going to overtime for only the second time in 58 games. As Anthony Crupi wrote at Sportico this week, that led to a big financial windfall for The Tiffany Network:

Here’s more from that piece:

As Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker sent Sunday night’s game into the bonus round with a 29-yard field goal, CBS’ ad sales team already had a full complement of spots to air during the bonus breaks. Long before Super Bowl LVIII kicked off in Las Vegas, CBS had booked a handful of insurance units in the event the Chiefs and 49ers required a little extra time to settle their differences.

For the NFL’s broadcast partners, the procedure is fairly straightforward, even if overtime is a relatively uncommon outcome. As CBS was busy selling off its standard in-game units, the network sold anywhere between five and seven contingency slots at a slight discount from its average asking price.

…Three of the 10 OT ads were snared by GroupM, which secured prime real estate for Discover’s commercial with Jennifer Coolidge, which had originally aired during the pre-game show, as well as Universal Pictures’ teaser for the forthcoming films Monkey Man and Kung Fu Panda 4.

“When working with our clients to plan their overall presence at the Big Game, we know it’s critical to think big picture and beyond the game itself,” said Martin Blich, GroupM’s executive director of sports and live investment. “Overtime is a pivotal moment in a football game, not only for the players on the field and fans of the teams, but for everyone watching. With attention for this year’s event at an all-time high, we worked with our brand partners before the game and in real-time during the fourth quarter to land these coveted spots.”

As Crupi notes, most of those overtime commercials were repeat runs of ads that already aired during the game itself or pregame coverage. And that makes sense; Super Bowl ads tend to be high-budget operations, and companies aren’t spending the resources to film those on the chance they might actually air. So it’s more logical for these spots to go to ads that had already run, at a slight discount. (And even with that discount, there’s still big money here: Crupi wrote previously that the average 30-second rate here was around $6.47 million, giving CBS presumed record revenues even before overtime).

That’s a massive windfall for CBS and parent company Paramount Global. And that’s especially true with this extra frame lasting almost 15 minutes of game time compared to the much shorter overtime in Super Bowl LI, the only previous Super Bowl to hit overtime. And this worked out well for the companies picking up contingency spots, too, with the record audience peaking during the additional time.

This also comes at an interesting time for CBS and Paramount Global. Paramount Global has been regularly discussed as an acquisition target for the likes of NBC parent Comcast or TNT parent Warner Bros. Discovery (or other bidders). None of that seems close to completion yet, but the company getting a balance-sheet boost from a top-rated Super Bowl and extra overtime revenue certainly doesn’t seem likely to hurt those talks. We’ll see how it works out. But CBS’ main and alternate broadcasts did very well here, and that includes with overtime sales.


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.