$4.5 Billion in 50 years on Super Bowl ads

The Super Bowl is not only an annual championship game of the National Football League in the United States, but also a massive tournament of brands and advertising agencies.

In less than a week, on 7 February, Super Bowl 50 will air on CBS. According to Ad Age Datacenter's estimate, the overall spending on commercials will reach a record $377 million this year. That's more than was spent on the Super Bowl in the 1960s, '70s and '80s combined ($299 million).


Some shocking numbers:

  • Total ad spending on commercials in the Super Bowl from 1967 through 2016, adjusted for inflation: $5.9 billion.
  • Super Bowl 50's estimated share of 2016 U.S. broadcast network TV ad spending: Record 2.4%, double the level in 2010 (1.2%), four times level in 1995 (0.6%) and six times level in 1990 (0.4%).
  • Average cost for a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl 50: $4.8 million.
  • Average cost of 30 seconds in Super Bowl I: $40,000 ($289,000, adjusted for inflation).
  • Price per second for a 2016 spot: $160,000. That's 120 times the average cost for a second on Super Bowl I ($1,333).
  • Amount spent per viewer in 2015 on in-game advertising, based on estimated total ad spending divided by Nielsen's average number of viewers: $3.02.
  • Number of years that Super Bowl commercial prices fell: five (1971, 1996, 2003, 2007, 2010).
  • Biggest percent increases in price of a commercial: 1968 (35%), the second year of the Super Bowl; 2000 (31%), when Pets.com and 16 other internet upstarts shoveled cash from venture capital and stock offerings into the game amid the dot-com bubble.

Cost for one second of Super Bowl advertising


Milestones in price of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial:

  • 1973: topped $100,000.
  • 1985: reached $500,000.
  • 1995: topped $1 million.
  • 2000: topped $2 million.
  • 2009: reached $3 million.
  • 2013: reached $4 million.

The price of visibility might be extremely high, however it’s the best time of the year to put spotlight on a brand. Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon of their own alongside the game itself; many viewers only watch the game to see the commercials, national surveys (such as the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter) judge which advertisement carried the best viewer response, and CBS has aired yearly specials since 2000 chronicling notable commercials from the game. Seemingly, it’s worth to be among iconic content producers.