Here’s What to Expect for Super Bowl LIV

Here's What to Expect for Super Bowl LIV

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant 



             The Super Bowl may be the biggest event of the year for sports fans, but for the advertising industry, it is the Holy Grail.  In today’s world of streaming and DVRs, what other telecast actually has people tuning in to actually watch the commercials?  Am I right?


             When Super Bowl LIV airs on Sunday, February 2 on FOX, we’re sure to see some old standbys and some newcomers, some crowd favorites and some duds.  Expect the usual heavy presence from Anheuser-Busch In Bev, taking a total of four spots for Budweiser, BudLight/Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Pure Gold.  Other regulars like Doritos (Frito Lay) and Hyundai will both be featured and include celebrity appearances.  However, we will see Facebook make its first appearance ever with a 60-second spot featuring Sylvester Stallone and Chris Rock.  By the way, we expect to see a lot more long-form 60-second spots than we normally see.  Pop-Tarts (Kellogg’s) will also make its Super Bowl debut with a 30-second spot promoting their new pretzel flavor with “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness.  In fact, you can check out the full list of all 77 spots here, thanks to Marketing Dive.  You can even view some ahead of time.


            You may be cheering or jeering, but we also have an off-the-field showdown to look forward to, with ads from Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg.  Both threw down big time, spending approximately $10 million each for their own 60 seconds of airtime.  Not surprising, considering the attention they will get during the broadcast.  We have already seen spending on political advertising in full-gear for the 2020 elections, so this just follows that trend.


            Speaking of spending, exactly how much are advertisers paying for airtime during this Super Bowl?  FOX sold 30-second ads in the event for between “north of $5 million” to as much as $5.6 million, Seth Winter, EVP of sports sales says.  In contrast, CBS sought between $5.1 million and $5.3 million for a package of inventory in its 2019 broadcast of the event.  Meanwhile, FOX is seeking between $2 million and $3 million for the most expensive advertising slots in its pre- and post-game coverage.


            Though it has always been the most-watched event during the year, the Super Bowl has seen a decline in numbers in recent years, in addition to a hard sell for its inventory.  Last year, inventory did not sell out until two days before the big event.  In the two years prior to that in 2018 and 2017, some buys were not finalized until mere hours before the game.  However, this year saw a resurgence, with FOX declaring it had sold out all inventory by the end of November.  This change was possibly due to a robust economy and possibly due to a new plan announced by the NFL in May.  


The new format calls for the elimination of one commercial break in each of the Super Bowl’s four quarters. So, each quarter will have four ad breaks, not the five that had been the norm.  However, FOX is still selling the same number of total ad berths, meaning the commercial breaks will be longer than they have been in the past.  It also means that there are fewer first and last slots of each commercial break – the “A” and “Z” spots, as they are referred to.  The A’s and Z’s are primo spots, as advertisers believe they stand out the most to viewers.  So, this may have sparked advertisers to invest early to secure the premium inventory.    


So when you sit down to watch the Super Bowl, enjoy it for the spectacle it truly is.  Have fun watching the commercials and ranking your personal favorites.  We’ll see Demi Lovato sing the National Anthem and we’ll see J. Lo and Shakira perform in the buzzed about, Jay-Z produced Halftime Show.  And good luck to you if you happen to be participating in a Super Bowl pool. 


Oh yeah, and good luck to the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers – after all, there is an actual football game to be played!



Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.