Got $5 Million to Spare? Fox Has a Few Super Bowl Slots Left With a Month to Go

Rates are slightly higher than last year's game

Headshot of Jason Lynch

Super Bowl LI is one month from today, and it’s not too late for marketers to get into the game.

While Fox Sports has sold most of its Super Bowl inventory, the company still has a handful of in-game slots left.

Fox Sports declined to comment, but sources said it still has a few spots remaining and has been seeking north of $5 million for those 30-second spots.

That’s above the $5 million CBS was able to command for Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The network held back a few Super Bowl spots until the last minute, part of CBS Corp CEO, president and chairman Leslie Moonves’ plan to maximize revenue by giving a desperate advertiser the chance to pay through the nose at the 11th hour and get into the game.

While NFL ratings are down this year, and NFL ad revenue fell 17 percent year over year in November after increases in September and October, Fox should top CBS’ Super Bowl 50 ad revenue given those price hikes.

Two years earlier, NBC didn’t sell out its Super Bowl ad inventory until Jan. 28, four days before the game, at $4.5 million per spot. Three years ago, the last time Fox broadcast the Super Bowl, it had sold all of its in-game spots by Dec. 4, averaging $4 million for each one.

Super Bowl 50 was the third most-watched U.S. telecast of all time, with 111.9 million viewers. The 2015 Super Bowl on NBC drew 114.4 million total viewers, 49.7 million of them in the 18-49 demo, and Fox’s 2014 telecast was watched by 112.2 million (and 49.9 million in the demo).

But Fox should likely break that record if the Dallas Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl, especially if they play Tom Brady’s New England Patriots.

The Fox Sports ad sales team hasn’t been affected by the September departure of Fox Networks Group ad sales chief Toby Byrne, whose position still hasn’t been filled. Buyers said Neil Mulcahy, evp of sports sales for Fox, has anchored the ship in Byrne’s absence and that Fox is only a little behind the pace of previous Super Bowl years.

Mulcahy’s team turned its attention to finishing up Super Bowl sales after wrapping up the World Series, which ended with the most-watched World Series game in 25 years—and the most-watched telecast since Super Bowl 50—the Chicago Cubs’ Game 7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

“We know everybody who’s going to be there,” Mulcahy told Adweek in November about the Super Bowl. “The biggest problem this year we’re having is deciding how long they want their commercials to be.”

For the latest news on this year’s Super Bowl ads, check out Adweek’s Super Bowl LI Ad Tracker.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
Publish date: January 5, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT