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The Economics of Super Bowl Commercials

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It is hard to go anywhere without someone talking about the Super Bowl as the buildup to the event in February really kicks in. The NFL has become a globally dominant force, creating, and expanding its fanbase around the world, whilst also cementing itself as America’s most popular sport.

The Super Bowl is the big one, the grand finale. The two top sides in the league face of for the right to be declared champions. The Super Bowl odds change week to week as the season progresses and this year it’s the 49ers emerging as the favorites but that could easily swing before the game in February.

As Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl in February 2023, it was reported that and average audience of 115.1 million viewers across a number of networks and digital streams tuned in. Staggering numbers of people, 2.1 million more than the previous year, all transfixed on the action. 

While viewers are tuned in, the nature of the NFL and the way the game is played lends itself to advertising opportunities in between plays, during breaks between quarters as well as timeouts. 

The demand for spaces in these advertisement breaks is massive, with so many people tuned in, it can be vital for brands in competitive markets to ensure they are aligned and associated with one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar.

What is also imperative to remember, is the diverse demographic of viewers all tuning in. There are very few other sports which can claim to reach such a wide range of people from different backgrounds across the country and globally. 

All this though comes at a cost. A 30-second slot for advertising during the Super Bowl can cost up to $7 million. A brand or firm needs to be sure they are going to see an increase in their profits from those who have their eyeballs fixated on the screen during this time.

“The fractionalization of attention because of streaming and social media makes the Super Bowl more important than ever,” Crakes told CNN Business. “If you’re in business with the NFL and you’re advertising during the Super Bowl, you’re a real player.” 

By investing in this Super Bowl advertising slots, firms and businesses can look to stand out further with daring adverts, wild happenings and famous names to help them to be the advert to remember from the match.

With the ads made specifically for the Super Bowl, viewers are tuning in to see which company does what with their allotted time. It is also an event which remains traditional in its viewership, through traditional networks, rather than how other sports have seen a bigger switch to streaming platforms.

This ensures that the people will continue to be in their seats during the advertisement breaks, rather than skipping between streams or other apps on their mobile device. 

With the numbers of viewers you can reach and the attention paid to the adverts, it means that the $7 million some firms paid could have easily ensured a bigger increase in their profits and proved absolute value for money.

Some brands have ensured that they remain a key advertiser and contributor with the NFL, especially for the Super Bowl year on year. Budweiser, Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been longstanding features which has helped in entrenching themselves in American pop culture. 

The 1980 Coca Cola advert with “Mean” Joe Greene throwing a bottle of coke to a child saying, “Hey Kid, catch!” has been used in spin-offs and parodied in television shows which further shows the continued importance of a strong, recognizable advert during the Super Bowl.

Doritos went another way from 2006 to 2016 with their Crash the Super Bowl campaign. Frito-Lay, Doritos parent company, invited viewers to take part in an online competition to create their own Doritos advert which they would then air during the Super Bowl. 

This opportunity to build up their client base further even before the ad aired was a great way to engage with a number of young people especially. Fans submitted more than 36,000 entries across the eight editions of the competition which would have reached more people and helped them to be one of the most talked about brands in their market from Super Bowl ads. 

While the cost of Super Bowl ads continues to increase, it is clear that for a number of firms and brands, it is still vital in their industry to align themselves with the event.

By building their image and reputation alongside one of the most talked about sporting events in the world, and one of the most watched, it can play a huge part in their continual growth as well.

The Super Bowl continues to cement itself as one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, worldwide, and brands with similar ambitions in their fields will keep paying the increasing fee’s to remain in the public eye alongside it. 

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