Fox has sold their entire inventory of Super Bowl commercials months ahead of the game itself, bucking some recent year trends that saw networks forced to wait until the last few days to sell the spots. That’s despite a record cost of $5 million-$5.6 million per 30 seconds, depending on the slot.
From Variety’s Brian Steinberg:
It’s the first time in half a decade that the network showing the big game hasn’t had to go down to the wire to dispense with its high-priced ad slots, and suggests advertisers have found new appeal in the live telecast in an era when most of TV’s best-known programming has a significant component of on-demand viewership.
“We have sold all of our in-game inventory in the Super Bowl,” says Seth Winter, Fox’s executive vice president of sports sales. “There are a number of advertisers, frankly, who couldn’t land their spots with us because their creative wasn’t ready or because of some indecisiveness, so we are going to go to pre- and post-game inventory to land their units.”
There will actually be fewer ad breaks during this year’s Super Bowl, going from five to four, though the overall inventory won’t be reduced. That could help keep the game flowing, which could theoretically keep more people watching throughout. It also helped boost demand for the first and last spots in the remaining breaks.
And while Fox is still selling the same number of ad berths – the four remaining commercial breaks will be longer than they have in the past – the network will have fewer of the first and last slots to pass along. Those positions, often known as “A” and “Z,” tend to be the ones advertisers believe stand out most to viewers.
“There will be four fewer A’s and four fewer Z’s,” says Winter. “And that piques advertisers’ interest and encourages them to invest in their commercials early to secure premium inventory.”
Last week news broke that the Trump campaign was looking to make a Super Bowl ad buy, though according to Suzanne Vranica in The Wall Street Journal, none of the parties are confirming or denying they ended up with one of the spots.
Sports Business Journal reported that President Trump’s re-election campaign has agreed on “broad terms” with Fox to air an ad during the game. Fox declined to comment on specific advertisers, and the Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
That news will certainly come out in one way or another. The sellout is a big deal for Fox, though, and now the only drama they have is hoping the eventual game itself is one worth watching.