Super Bowl increasingly stuffed with ads


NEW YORK -- Advertisers have spent more than $1.7 billion to push beer, cars and other products during Super Bowl broadcasts over the last two decades -- a period when the cost of a 30-second television spot quadrupled, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The report from TNS Media Intelligence also found that Super Bowl spots have accounted for more than 11 hours of advertising over the last 20 years, with the 2006 broadcast on ABC containing more commercial time than ever before.

The findings come as advertisers put the finishing touches on commercials that will be run for Super Bowl XLI, which airs on CBS on Feb. 4 and is expected to attract some 90 million viewers. Typically, ad sales will not wrap up until days before the broadcast.

So far, marketers have paid up to $2.6 million for a 30-second spot, CBS said, slightly more than they paid to advertise during last year's game on ABC. That compares to the $600,000 it cost to purchase a spot in 1987.

Top buyers this year have included Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., which has purchased 10 30-second spots, General Motors Corp. and PepsiCo Inc.

That list should come as little surprise, judging from the TNS report showing that those three companies have long been among the largest advertisers. Indeed, since 1987, Anheuser-Busch has had a presence in every game, spending a total of over $250 million as the top marketer, TNS said.

Still, the television network carrying the broadcast usually accounts for the most commercial time, as it takes advantage of the huge audience to promote its own programming, the study showed.