CBS Sells Out the Super Bowl

NEW YORK: CBS said today it has sold all available airtime for the Super Bowl, published reports say. The network said demand was stranger than expected. It was reported to be selling 30-second spots for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million, though Reuters puts the price at $3 million, where NBC peaked out last year. The game usually runs around 60 commercials, with a few left open for game day.

CBS had sold around 90 percent of its Super Bowl inventory by December, even as companies ratcheted down on ad spending in one of the worst recessions in decades. The wire service said the network is also pacing ahead of last year for selling golf and the NCAA basketball tourney in March.

Budweiser will once again be the top advertiser during the game, scheduled for Feb. 7 when the New Orleans “Who Dat?” Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts.

NBC pulled in $206 million from the game last year, and $261 million for the full broadcast day--both records for the network. NBC ran 69 spots ranging in price from $2.4 million to $3 million. Fox carried the Super Bowl in 2008, pulling in around $2.7 million for a 30-second ad. Fox brought in $186.3 million on a total of 63 spots.

Most people are expected to watch the Super Bowl at home or at that of a friend or relative, Nielsen said today. Nine of 10 people who intend to watch Super Bowl XLIV will do so hunkered in rather than at a restaurant or a sports bar.

“Consumers continue to rein in spending and while this ‘new normal’ provides challenges for restaurant and bar owners, it presents opportunities for consumer packaged goods retailers and manufacturers,” said Nielsen’s Nick Lake.

Beer sellers are among packaged goods retailers getting a boost from the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl ranks 7th among holidays or events for which the most beer is sold. Beermakers sell 49.2 million cases of brew for the Super Bowl. The 4th of July is No. 1, with 63.5 million cases flying out of stores.

“We see the lowest amount of beer sales during the first quarter of the year leading up to a peak in the summer,” Lake said. “However, the Super Bowl continues to be a bigger and bigger event where consumers drink billions of servings of beer servings at home. Beer marketers are taking advantage of that opportunity to drive sales during what is typically a slower period for beer purchases.”