Super Bowl ad sales headed for record

Dick Ebersol says some 30-second spots exceed $3 mil

NEW YORK -- NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Tuesday afternoon that this year's Super Bowl ad sales would probably set a total record with prices on a few spots topping $3 million per 30-second ad.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Ebersol said he was pleased that NBC was 85% sold with the game in early September. That was before the ad economy started sputtering in earnest.

"We had one incredibly lucky break. ... Our sales department sold more Super Bowl inventory before the beginning of September than anyone had in history," Ebersol said. A few unnamed spots had been sold at $3 million apiece; others were in the "high" $2 million range.

"I am not going to tell you that it hasn't been a tough slog since then," Ebersol said. "But we're down to the last four spots left in the game and they have not crashed price in any way, shape or form."

It's not the same in the pregame, however, where things are moving more slowly, adwise.

Ebersol also disclosed that the Super Bowl was "the last remaining event in television that does not guarantee a rating" to advertisers. He said that it was more than two decades since the Super Bowl rating has varied by more than three ratings points.

"I am comfortable that this game will be a 40 rating or somewhat above that," he said.