50 Super Bowls and an epic ad spend

The 2016 Super Bowl contest between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will be historic in more ways than one.

This is Super Bowl 50 after all, a milestone for a uniquely over-the-top American tradition.

Time magazine notes that “Americans will eat 1.3 billion, or 162.5 million pounds, of wings on Super Bowl Sunday.”


Massive Market

It’s also the mother of all mass market events: Last year, some 114.4 million viewers in the United States tuned in.

This year, CBS is commanding gold-plate prices for ads.

The average price of a 30-second spot is expected to jump up more than 10% over last year’s level to around $4.8 million.

The broadcasting network expects to rake in nearly $400 million in ad revenue during its broadcast of the NFL championship game.

Rich History

Advertising Age recently tallied up the cumulative ad spend since the Super Bowl kicked off five decades ago and came up with $4.5 billion.

Source: Advertising Age
Source: Advertising Age

Another way to look at the spectacular growth is to crunch the data in terms of the cost of one minute of Super Bowl advertising.

It was $1,330 in 1967– and $160,000 in 2016.

Source: Advertising Age
Source: Advertising Age


Cultural Artifacts

Super Bowl ads have become a cultural phenomenon in their own right.

In fact, CBS plans to live-stream all of its national spots.

If you’d like to check out a sneak peak of the ads, go here.


Regardless of who wins or loses on the field, the Super Bowl has been an epic commercial success for the NFL and commercial broadcasters.

It is the perfect melding of a can’t-miss sporting spectacle and the world of commerce.

Photo Credit: Craig Hawkins via Flickr Creative Commons