Super Bowl Ads 2020: Analyzing Value and Cost of Top Commercials

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2020

A scoreboards is seen during a tour of Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, ahead of a NFL Super Bowl LIV football game in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Sunday's showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers is exciting, but millions of viewers are looking forward to 2020's slate of Super Bowl commercials.

As the sport's popularity rose, so did the prices for advertisements on the most watched event annually. Although TV ratings have dropped steadily since the peak in 2015, the Super Bowl still averaged 98.2 million viewers last year. That was 44.3 million more viewers than the No. 2 show.

So, yes, the enormous cost of a commercial is understandable.

And in 2020, per Bloomberg, Fox has benefited from a record-setting price of $5.6 million for a 30-second ad spot. Fox sold 77 national spots in addition to the group of local commercials.

"Clearly the NFL is still the most powerful media platform in all of sports and all of television," Fox Sports executive vice president for sports sales Seth Winter said. "Advertisers have seen the restoration of healthy ratings and an environment that doesn't create caution on their part, so they've dived headfirst into the NFL."

According to Bloomberg, companies that bought multiple ad spots received a discount. Still, every commercial spot sold eclipsed $5 million, save for one company with a long-standing bulk order.

"Using rough calculations, the total sales figure probably eclipsed $400 million," the report said.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

But is a commercial worth the price?

Kristina Monllos of Digiday laid out what $5.6 million can purchase in digital media. Among others, the value is $2.8 million clicks on Walmart search ads, 70 million impressions on Hulu pause ads, 862 million impressions on a digital billboard around town or 1.4 billion Twitter impressions.

The list of alternatives is remarkable, yet the certainty of eyeballs during the NFL's championships game is enticing.

"Beyond the Super Bowl, there are very few guarantees, except, again, other postseason football," Winter said

Value isn't strictly monetary, either.

"Buying a Super Bowl ad doesn't simply reach the largest audience in media," Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint said. "It sends an economic signal to the audience/public that your company has worth, value and products so strong that you can buy a Super Bowl ad for them. The latter is key to brand advertising."

Brand loyaltycontinually purchasing a particular brand, often no matter the costis key to creating a successful company. Super Bowl ads surely assist in that pursuit.

In today's media landscape, it's common to see commercials released beforehand. While this has lessened the surprise for active social-media users, it also raises the potential for people to communicate their excitement.

And thanks to YouTube, advertisements have longer shelf lives; they can be replayed ad nauseam after airing during the Super Bowl.

Without question, the price tag is prohibitive. But the significance of a Super Bowl commercial is also clear.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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