Fox nearly sold out of Super Bowl LI ad time

By Jeanine Poggi


Fox is about 90% sold out of commercial time for Super Bowl LI, according to a person familiar with the situation.

While some marketers have raised concerns over the slump in NFL ratings this season, the prospect of a Cowboys-Patriots Super Bowl is also generating buzz as Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5 approaches. A matchup between the two teams, with huge followings and arguably just as passionate legions of haters, could trounce existing ratings records.

Fox is nonetheless pacing behind where CBS was last year, when network CEO Les Moonves said on Nov. 3 that ad time in Super Bowl 50 was nearly sold out.

More marketers seem to be delaying decisions to buy, partly in an effort to ensure that they have creative that will be worthy of such a big stage -- and big price tag. The network is likely to average over $5 million for 30-second spots in Super Bowl LI, the person said. Of course, as has been the case with other networks in recent Super Bowls, Fox is pushing buyers to purchase other inventory along with Super Bowl ad time.

According to some buyers, as of last week Fox still had about 17 units left in the game.

One category that we could see more of in the 2017 Super Bowl is over-the-top streaming TV plans, the person said. New pay-TV packages from the likes of AT&T, among others, could use the Super Bowl to promote their services, which target younger viewers who have either cut the cord or have never signed up for a pay-TV service.

Fox is also trending ahead of expectations for its live stream of the Super Bowl, with several marketers buying spots only in the online stream.

So far, we know Avocados from Mexico, WeatherTech, Snickers and Kia will return as advertisers in Super Bowl LI. And Anheuser-Bush InBev will air a Super Bowl ad for its Busch brand for the first time.
Credit:Ad Age
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