Super Bowl LIII Is ‘Over 90% Sold’ With 3 Weeks to Go, CBS Says

Title sponsors secured for each pre- and postgame hour

'There’s nothing that brings the whole company together like the Super Bowl,' said acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello.
Jason Lynch/Adweek

CBS ad sales chief Jo Ann Ross and her team began selling ads for Super Bowl LIII as soon as Super Bowl LII ended last year. Now, with just over three weeks left before the Big Game, Super Bowl inventory is “over 90 percent sold,” she said today.

Additionally, the title sponsors have been secured for each pre- and postgame hour, Ross said at CBS’ Super Bowl LIII media day in New York.

“We are very, very happy with where we are,” said Ross, whose other comments about this year’s Super Bowl ad sales echoed what Adweek reported last week: that the game is “well sold” and “almost sold out.” All third-quarter inventory has now been sold, said John Bogusz, evp, sports sales and marketing.

Ads are selling for north of $5 million per 30-second spot, with the strongest categories including beer, soda, automotive, theatrical and tech. Returning sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Doritos, Avocados From Mexico and WeatherTech. (For the latest news on Super Bowl LIII ads, check out Adweek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker.)

Ross said the ads she has seen so far for the game on Feb. 3 are “Super Bowl-worthy.”

Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello said his company “will generate hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in that single day,” with “the lion’s share” coming from ad sales. “There’s nothing that brings the whole company together like the Super Bowl,” he added.

Last year, NBCUniversal collected around $500 million in Super Bowl-related advertising revenue on game day—a single-day record for a media company. That included $350 million worth of in-game advertising.

While NFL ratings have rebounded this season and were up 5 percent in total viewers, Ianniello and CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus declined to comment on their ratings speculations for the game, though Ianniello noted that “well over 100 million people tune in” to the Super Bowl.

Last year, a linear audience of 103.4 million tuned in to Super Bowl LII on NBC, making it the lowest-rated Big Game telecast since 2009 and representing a 7 percent decline from Fox’s average a year earlier.

“It will be the most-watched game of the year. You can take that to the bank,” Ianniello said, setting the bar as low as possible.

This year’s telecast will feature several new technological advancements, including multiple 8K cameras for the first time on any U.S. network, as well as 16 cameras with 4K capabilities for “even more dramatic close-ups of the action,” said McManus, who will deploy 115 cameras in total during Super Bowl LIII.

CBS will also showcase four cameras with live augmented reality graphics. “The broadcast will look as innovative as any broadcast in history,” McManus said.

The network’s Super Bowl LIII coverage will kick off at 11:30 a.m. with seven hours of pregame programming, including a four-hour Super Bowl Today pregame show starting at 2 p.m. “It will be the fastest-moving four hours you’ve ever seen,” McManus said.

Susan Zirinsky, who was named CBS News president on Sunday night, said Face the Nation will be broadcast live from Atlanta on Super Bowl Sunday.

Following the game, CBS will debut its new reality competition series, The World’s Best.

“We’ve had some success premiering reality shows after the Super Bowl, [including Survivor and Undercover Boss],” Ianniello said. “We have high expectations for that show.”

The result will be “an incredible evening of sports and entertainment that will appeal to viewers of all ages,” said CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl, who noted that the Super Bowl offers a “valuable promotional platform to launch new shows and build important programming assets.”

While much of CBS’ Super Bowl LIII coverage has already been locked in, a few other elements are still up in the air. One is whether President Trump will participate in a pregame interview, which had become an annual tradition until last year.

“Still discussing that with the White House,” McManus said. “No announcement on that right now.”

For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl LIII Ad Tracker. And join us on the evening of Feb. 3 for the best in-game coverage of the Super Bowl commercials anywhere.

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