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Super Bowl commercials, also called Super Bowl ads, are special TV advertisements shown during the Super Bowl, which is the NFL’s championship game in the United States.
These commercials are known for being very expensive and receive a lot of attention because millions of people watch the Super Bowl. Companies use this opportunity to showcase their products or services in a memorable and entertaining way, hoping to reach a massive audience.
In 2023, advertisers pay an average of seven million U.S. dollars to air a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl LVI broadcast. The Super Bowl is a major sporting event, but it’s also known for its halftime show and high viewership worldwide.
Advertisers use the Super Bowl to promote their products due to its large audience. However, this visibility comes at a cost, with the price for a 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl steadily increasing from at least five million U.S. dollars since 2017.
Super Bowl ads popularity
Super Bowl ads have gained immense popularity, becoming a significant cultural phenomenon. These commercials have become highly anticipated, and people discuss them extensively on social media.
A survey conducted in 2020 found that 79 percent of viewers consider the Super Bowl commercials as entertainment, and nearly 71 percent enjoy watching them. Interestingly, viewers often seek out these ads beyond their original air date. For example, during the 2019 Super Bowl, people spent 641,000 hours watching Super Bowl ads on YouTube, marking a 58 percent increase from the previous year.
Large corporations spend big
Big corporations are strongly attracted to the idea of airing commercials during the Super Bowl. Some of the largest advertisers during the 2021 Super Bowl included companies like Pepsico and T-Mobile.
Anheuser-Busch topped the list by spending a staggering 52 million U.S. dollars on advertising during the big game. This significant investment from large corporations has led to record-breaking Super Bowl advertising revenue, reaching 485 million U.S. dollars in 2021, which is more than double the figure from 2011.
How much is a Super Bowl commercial?
In 2023, the price for a 30-second Super Bowl ad reached a new high, with an average cost of $7 million. This is an increase from the cost of a 30-second commercial during the 2022 Super Bowl, which was $6.5 million. The price has been steadily rising, up from $5.5 million in 2021 — making it one of the most expensive advertising slots in the world.
What is the most expensive Super Bowl ad?
The most expensive Super Bowl commercial ever aired was Amazon’s “Mind Reader” commercial during the 2022 Super Bowl. Amazon paid $26 million for this 130-second ad, which starred real-life couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost.
How much does a Super Bowl ad cost a second?
A Super Bowl ad costs $233,333 per second. During Super Bowl 57 on February 12, brand marketers paid a record $7 million for in-game advertising spots. This price is for the airtime alone and does not include the additional millions spent on production costs or director fees.
How much is a one-minute ad for the Super Bowl?
A one-minute ad for the Super Bowl would cost nearly double the average price of a 30-second ad. Super Bowl ads usually last between 15 to 30 seconds.
These ads are expensive, so they focus on entertainment rather than serious product pitches. This has led to a trend where some people who aren’t interested in sports tune in specifically to watch the commercials.
Super Bowl ad cost by year
Super Bowl ad costs have seen a substantial increase over the years, reflecting the event’s status as one of the most-watched television broadcasts and a prime opportunity for companies to showcase their products or services to a massive and engaged audience.
- Super Bowl I (1967): The average cost of a 30-second commercial during the inaugural Super Bowl was $37,500.
- Super Bowl XXXIV (2000): Over the years, this cost steadily increased, reaching approximately $2.2 million by the time of Super Bowl XXXIV in the year 2000.
- Super Bowl XLIX (2015): The cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad had doubled from 2000 to 2015, with companies paying around $4.5 million for this advertising slot.
- Super Bowl LVI (2022): In 2022, during Super Bowl LVI, the cost had further escalated to a staggering $7 million for just a 30-second ad, highlighting the growing popularity and reach of Super Bowl commercials as a valuable marketing platform.
Here’s an expanded breakdown of the Super Bowl ad costs over the years:
|Year||Price of 30-second commercial|
|1967||$37,500 (NBC)/$42,500 (CBS)|
Source: Nielsen Media Research
Why are Super Bowl ads so expensive?
Super Bowl ads are expensive mainly because of high viewership. The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched TV events annually, making it an ideal platform for corporations to showcase new ads to a vast audience.
How many commercials are in a Super Bowl?
During the Super Bowl, there are typically around 70 commercials that air. These commercials collectively generate approximately $500 million in advertising revenue on the hottest sports night of the year, making it one of the most lucrative events for advertisers for that one night.
How long are Super Bowl commercials?
Super Bowl commercials typically last for 30 seconds, which is the standard duration that most companies pay for. Some companies opt to extend their commercials to 45 seconds or even a full minute, while others choose shorter durations of 15 seconds.
For instance, Anheuser-Busch is known for investing heavily in Super Bowl advertising and has been reported to spend significantly more to air three minutes’ worth of commercials during the game, which is substantially longer than the typical 30-second slot.
First Super Bowl commercial cost
During the first Super Bowl in 1967, which was aired on both CBS and NBC, advertising slots on NBC cost $37,500, and on CBS, they cost $45,500.
NBC’s broadcast had 24,430,000 viewers, resulting in an average cost of $651.47 per viewer, while CBS’s broadcast had 26,750,000 viewers, equating to an average cost of $587.91 per viewer.
Why can’t companies use the name Super Bowl in their ads?
Companies cannot use the name “Super Bowl” in their ads because it has been a registered trademark of the NFL since 1969. This means that using the official name “Super Bowl” for commercial purposes requires permission from the NFL and often involves payment.
To avoid legal issues, commercials during the Super Bowl often refer to the event as the “Big Game” instead of using the trademarked term “Super Bowl LVII” or similar variations.
What brand has the most Super Bowl commercials?
The brand that has aired the most Super Bowl commercials is Budweiser. They’ve purchased 142 Super Bowl ads since the first Super Bowl in 1967, making them the company with the most Super Bowl commercials.
How many people watch the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl LVII, which took place on February 12, 2023, had an estimated 113.06 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The game was broadcast on FOX from 6:44 PM ET to 10:14 PM ET and had an average of nearly 112.2 million viewers on FOX. Additionally, 882,000 people watched the Spanish broadcast on FOX Deportes.
During this event, the NFL season finale between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs was watched in nearly 50 million households across the United States, on average. Over 77% of households with televisions at that time were tuned in to the Super Bowl LVII broadcast, and the FOX broadcast received an average household rating of 40.0.
Super Bowl LVII is the second most-watched Super Bowl in history, surpassed only by Super Bowl XLIX, which took place on February 1, 2015, when the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks.
These audience estimates for Super Bowl LVII include viewers who watched digitally (DTVR), out-of-home (OOH), and via platforms like the Fox Sports app, Fox Now, and NFL+.
Historical Super Bowl audience estimates
|Super Bowl||Network(s)||Total Viewers P2+||HHLD Rating||Date|
|LVII||FOX, FOX Deportes||113,055,000||40.0||Feb. 12, 2023|
|LVI||NBC, Telemundo||101,085,000||36.9||Feb. 13, 2022|
|LV||CBS, ESPN Deportes||95,877,000||38.4||Feb. 7, 2021|
|LIV||FOX, FOX Deportes||102,086,000||41.6||Feb. 2, 2020|
|LIII||CBS, ESPN Deportes||98,950,000||41.1||Feb. 3, 2019|
|LII||NBC, Universo||104,016,000||43.1||Feb. 4, 2018|
|LI||FOX, FOX Deportes||111,973,000||45.3||Feb. 5, 2017|
|SB 50||CBS, ESPN Deportes||112,336,000||46.6||Feb. 7, 2016|
|XLIX||NBC, Universo||114,810,000||47.5||Feb. 1, 2015|
|XLVIII||FOX, FOX Deportes||112,752,000||46.7||Feb. 2, 2014|
|XLVII||CBS||108,693,000||46.4||Feb. 3, 2013|
|XLVI||NBC||111,346,000||47.1||Feb. 5, 2012|
|XLV||FOX||111,041,000||46.0||Feb. 6, 2011|
|XLIV||CBS||106,476,000||45.0||Feb. 7, 2010|
|XLIII||NBC||98,732,000||42.0||Feb. 1, 2009|
|XLII||FOX||97,448,000||43.1||Feb. 3, 2008|
|XLI||CBS||93,184,000||42.6||Feb. 4, 2007|
|XL||ABC||90,745,000||41.6||Feb. 5, 2006|
|XXXIX||FOX||86,072,000||41.1||Feb. 6, 2005|
|XXXVIII||CBS||89,795,000||41.4||Feb. 1, 2004|
|XXXVII||ABC||88,637,000||40.7||Jan. 26, 2003|
|XXXVI||FOX||86,801,000||40.4||Feb. 3, 2002|
|XXXV||CBS||84,335,000||40.4||Jan. 28, 2001|
|XXXIV||ABC||88,465,000||43.3||Jan. 30, 2000|
|XXXIII||FOX||83,720,000||40.2||Jan. 31, 1999|
|XXXII||NBC||90,000,000||44.5||Jan. 25, 1998|
|XXXI||FOX||87,870,000||43.3||Jan. 26, 1997|
|XXX||NBC||94,080,000||46.0||Jan. 28, 1996|
|XXIX||ABC||83,420,000||41.3||Jan. 29, 1995|
|XXVIII||NBC||90,000,000||45.5||Jan. 30, 1994|
|XXVII||NBC||90,990,000||45.1||Jan. 31, 1993|
|XXVI||CBS||79,590,000||40.3||Jan. 26, 1992|
|XXV||ABC||79,510,000||41.9||Jan. 27, 1991|
|XXIV||CBS||73,852,000||39.0||Jan. 28, 1990|
|XXIII||NBC||81,590,000||43.5||Jan. 22, 1989|
|XXII||ABC||80,140,000||41.9||Jan. 31, 1988|
|XXI||CBS||87,190,000||45.8||Jan. 25, 1987|
|XX||NBC||92,570,000||48.3||Jan. 26, 1986|
|XIX||ABC||85,530,000||46.4||Jan. 20, 1985|
|XVIII||CBS||77,620,000||46.4||Jan. 22, 1984|
|XVII||NBC||81,770,000||48.6||Jan. 30, 1983|
|XVI||CBS||85,240,000||49.1||Jan. 24, 1982|
|XV||NBC||68,290,000||44.4||Jan. 25, 1981|
|XIV||CBS||76,240,000||46.3||Jan. 20, 1980|
|XIII||NBC||74,740,000||47.1||Jan. 21, 1979|
|XII||CBS||78,940,000||47.2||Jan. 15, 1978|
|XI||NBC||62,050,000||44.4||Jan. 9, 1977|
|X||CBS||57,710,000||42.3||Jan. 18, 1976|
|IX||NBC||56,050,000||42.4||Jan. 12, 1975|
|VIII||CBS||51,700,000||41.6||Jan. 13, 1974|
|VII||NBC||53,320,000||42.7||Jan. 14, 1973|
|VI||CBS||56,640,000||44.2||Jan. 16, 1972|
|V||NBC||46,040,000||39.9||Jan. 17, 1971|
|IV||CBS||44,270,000||39.4||Jan. 11, 1970|
|III||NBC||41,660,000||36.0||Jan. 12, 1969|
|II||CBS||39,120,000||36.8||Jan. 14, 1968|
|I||CBS||26,750,000||22.6||Jan. 15, 1967|
|I||NBC||24,430,000||18.5||Jan. 15, 1967|
Are Super Bowl ads worth it?
Super Bowl ads can be worth it for companies. In recent years, companies that advertised during the Super Bowl have seen a strong return on investment (ROI). For example, in the 2021 Super Bowl, brands like General Motors, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Mountain Dew earned an average ROI of $4.60 for every dollar spent on advertising, according to Kantar research.
This success is partly due to the creativity of the ads and the fact that fans often remember and buy products from the advertisements they find most engaging. The Super Bowl’s high viewership makes it a valuable platform for reaching a massive audience all at once.
In the words of Joe Glennon, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising at Temple University, “There’s still no better way to reach 70, 80, or 90 million people all at once than the Super Bowl. There is also incredible brand-building power in having lots of people see you at the same time.”
So, Super Bowl ads can provide a significant return on investment and offer a unique opportunity to build brand awareness among a vast and engaged audience.
Why do brands prerelease Super Bowl ads today?
Brands prerelease Super Bowl ads today because it’s a strategy to reach a wider audience beyond those watching the Super Bowl live on television. With the rise of social media, advertisers release their Super Bowl commercials online before the game. This helps their ads reach people who may not watch the Super Bowl.
Additionally, pre-releasing ads extend their lifespan. This is because the ads can gain popularity independently of the Super Bowl broadcast, ensuring they continue to engage viewers even after the game is over.
How brands benefit from Super Bowl commercials
Brands benefit from Super Bowl commercials in several ways:
- Massive Audience Reach: The Super Bowl has an incredibly large viewership, with more than 112 million people tuning in last year. This makes it one of the biggest television events in the United States, ensuring that a brand’s message reaches millions of people.
- Long-lasting Marketing Impact: Studies have shown that the exposure from a Super Bowl commercial can have a lasting impact on a brand’s marketing efforts. Even after the Super Bowl, the increased visibility can continue to benefit the brand.
- Boost in Sales: Research, such as the 2018 study “Super Bowl Ads,” has found that companies advertising during the Super Bowl tend to experience increased sales not only during the game but also during other major sporting events like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, NBA playoffs, and major-league baseball games.
- Category Exclusivity: When a company is the sole advertiser in its category during the Super Bowl, its sales tend to be even higher. This exclusivity allows the brand to stand out without competition in its specific industry or product category.
In summary, Super Bowl commercials, despite their high cost, provide brands with unparalleled exposure to a vast audience, leading to increased sales and a long-lasting marketing impact, especially when they have category exclusivity.