The History of Super Bowl Media Buying


(Be sure to also check out our updated 2013 Super Bowl infographic.

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and the numbers are trickling in on who will be airing commercials and how much they spent on the 30 second spots. In 2012, companies are spending and average of $3.5 million to get their ads in front of what will presumably be the most watched American TV program of the year. Ad costs are up from 2011 by 17%, when the Super Bowl between the Packers and Steelers was the most watched American TV program ever at 111 million viewers.

When it comes to TV media buying, nothing comes close to the Super Bowl. Even the cost of ads airing during the Oscars is only about half the Super Bowl’s cost!

In the forty-six year history of the Super Bowl, billions have been spent on commercial spots as the cost of buying ads has ballooned from just $40k in 1967 (equivalent to around $260k adjusted for inflation). Here are some more interesting stats about advertising during the Super Bowl:

  • Overall, the cost for buying ads during the Super Bowl has risen by 8650% since 1967
  • The cost of buying ads for the Super Bowl has only dropped between years four times (1971, 2001, 2002, 2010), with the largest drop occurring in 2010, when costs were down 12% from the previous year
  • At 35%, the largest gains in advertising costs occurred in 1968 (for Super Bowl II) and for Super Bowl XI in 1977
  • Ad costs have only stayed level once from 1991 to 1992, when it was $800k to run a thirty second commercial
  • There are now forty-five minutes (and rising) of commercials during the Super Bowl’s sixty minutes of gameplay

Our media buying agency has experience buying commercials during the Super Bowl, buying ad time for long-time clients and Learn more about Ocean Media today!