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Over the past 20 years (1990-2009), the Super Bowl has generated $2.17 billion of network sales from a total of 210 different advertisers and more than 1,400 commercial messages, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The top 5 Super Bowl advertisers spent $783 million on game ads during the period, accounting for 36% of total advertising revenue: Anheuser-Busch ($311.8 million) and PepsiCo ($254.2 million) led the pack, appearing in every game during the 20 years, followed by General Motors ($80.5 million), Walt Disney ($71.6 million), and Time Warner ($64.8 million).

Price of Ads Climb

The cost of a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl more than quadrupled over the past 20 years, from $700,000 in 1990 to $3 million in 2009. The recessionary environment is expected to yield lower pricing for the 2010 game, with CBS reportedly selling 30-second units for $2.5-2.8 million.

First-Time Advertisers

Since 2005, the annual Super Bowl ad lineup has included 30-35 companies, with first-time advertisers accounting for 20-25% of the ad roster. In the 2009 game, first-time advertisers included Cash4Gold.com, Castrol, Denny's, Teleflora, and Vizio.

For the 2010 game, the rookie lineup is expected to include Electronic Arts and HomeAway, among others.


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Ad Volume Higher Over Past 10 Years

Even with the rising costs of advertising, the volume of commercial time in the Super Bowl game has been edging up over the past 10 years.
The NBC telecast of the 2009 Super Bowl contained 45 minutes and 5 seconds of network ads––including paying sponsors, commercial messages from the NFL, plus house ads aired by CBS––up 13.4% from 39 minutes and 45 seconds of ads in 2000.

Top Super Bowl Advertising Categories

Among the prime ad categories, the top advertiser by dollar value is typically the network that televises the game––accounting for 15-20% of all commercial time. In 2009, the value of this air time exceeded $42 million.

Over the past decade, the Super Bowl has attracted a bevy of movie studio, automotive, and dot-com companies, making them the most populous and competitive ad categories.

The Super Bowl Versus Other Franchises

Although the Super Bowl is a single telecast––compared with Major League Baseball's World Series (4-7 games), the two franchises have historically run neck and neck in terms of ad spending.

The 2009 Super Bowl game attraced $213 million in ad spending, while the World Series (6 games) attracted $223.6 million. The NCAA Basketball Championship (3 games) attracted $163.2 million the same year.

About the data: The 20-year advertising data was compiled by TNS Media Intelligence from its database.   

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