In 1967, a 30-second commercial in the first Super Bowl (then called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game) cost $47,500. With the game’s roaring success, the price went up by $5,000 the next year. Public interest quickly compounded, and by Super Bowl XXIX (1990), the price for 30 seconds of airtime reached $1 million.

This year, the cost of a 30-second spot is $5.6 million, or $186,667 per second.

Last year’s Super Bowl drew an estimated 112 million viewers in the US from TV and streaming. If the Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers pulls a similar audience, 2020 Super Bowl advertisers will be reaching roughly 20 people for every dollar spent — significantly less than the 1,200 fans a dollar’s worth of airtime bought in 1967.

Spending Super Bowl Money

Here’s the latest list of Super Bowl advertisers and their estimated spends, based on that $5.6 million retail price:

Complete list of Super Bowl Advertisers
Slate of 2020 Super Bowl advertisers. (Click to enlarge)

Super Bowl ads, we know, are more than just commercials — they can become cultural touchstones. Over the years, the Super Bowl introduced us to everyone from the Clydesdales (Super Bowl IX) to Spuds McKenzie (Super Bowl XXI), and a lady who famously barked “Where’s the beef?” (Super Bowl XVIII) — memorable characters that stuck around long after the game, and who still get plays on YouTube. 

But the escalating cost of Super Bowl advertising has pushed many past advertisers to the sidelines. 

OG News wanted to know who’s taking the advertising gamble this year — and which industries find it most valuable to spend big money to make their brand an official Super Bowl sponsor.

When it comes to total number of Super Bowl ads and the number of seconds they’ll get in front of our eyeballs, the food and beverage industry dominates, followed by automotive. Among the food and beverage advertisers, it’s all about beer, soda, and snacks. (Only one ad for pizza?!)

Super Bowl adverts by industry
Food and beverage and the automotive industries are the leading spenders by category for the 2020 Super Bowl.

Complete List of Super Bowl Commercials

Automotive

  • Audi
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Porsche
  • Toyota
  • WeatherTech

Communications

  • Facebook
  • SquareSpace
  • Verizon

Financial Services

  • Discover Card
  • New York Life
  • Turbo Tax
Super Bowl food and beverage commercials
A look at food and beverage advertisers by product.

Food and Beverage

  • Avocados from Mexico
  • Bud Light
  • Budweiser
  • Cheetos
  • Coca-Cola 
  • Doritos
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Little Caesars Pizza
  • Michelob
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pepsi
  • Planters
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Pringles
  • Sabra
  • Snickers
  • SodaStream

Health and Beauty

  • Olay
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Tide
Mike Bloomberg Donald Trump Super Bowl spend
Lest the Super Bowl prove a break from the day’s political angst, the Presidential campaigns of both Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump are spending a reported $10 million each to ensure viewers can’t forget.

Politics

  • Donald J. Trump for President
  • Mike Bloomberg 2020

Travel

  • Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos
  • Turkish Airlines

Not-So-Super Value?

Sure, these commercials get seen in places beyond the Super Bowl Sunday screen — on YouTube, news shows, and websites talking about those news shows. But as time goes on, the size of the television (and now streaming) audience isn’t necessarily keeping pace with the increase in ad price.

If we look at the number of viewers for each Super Bowl, in relation to how much advertisers had to spend, the ROI has quantitatively been dwindling.

Super Bowl advertising value
Is Super Bowl advertising starting to flatline? A lack of bang for the buck has some advertisers deciding the Big Game just isn’t worth it for their brand.

Here’s the running total of Super Bowl advertising costs, seen in comparison with the number of viewers these commercials reach:

Year Cost for 30-second spot Estimated Viewers* Viewers reached per dollar spent
2020 $5,600,000 ?? ?
2019 $5,200,000 113,270,000 22
2018 $5,000,000 117,953,000 24
2017 $4,500,000 113,690,000 25
2016 $4,250,000 113,732,000 27
2015 $4,000,000 115,781,000 29
2014 $3,800,000 114,110,000 30
2013 $3,500,000 108,700,000 31
2012 $3,100,000 111,346,000 36
2011 $2,954,010 111,010,000 38
2010 $2,999,960 106,476,000 35
2009 $2,699,963 98,732,000 37
2008 $2,385,365 97,448,000 41
2007 $2,500,000 93,184,000 37
2006 $2,400,000 90,745,000 38
2005 $2,302,200 86,072,000 37
2004 $2,200,000 89,795,000 41
2003 $2,200,000 88,637,000 40
2002 $2,200,000 86,801,000 39
2001 $2,100,000 84,335,000 40
2000 $1,600,000 88,465,000 55
1999 $1,291,100 83,720,000 65
1998 $1,200,000 90,000,000 75
1997 $1,085,000 87,870,000 81
1996 $1,150,000 94,080,000 82
1995 $900,000 83,420,000 93
1994 $850,000 90,000,000 106
1993 $850,000 90,990,000 107
1992 $800,000 79,590,000 99
1991 $700,400 79,510,000 114
1990 $675,000 73,852,000 109
1989 $645,000 81,590,000 126
1988 $600,000 80,140,000 134
1987 $550,000 87,190,000 159
1986 $525,000 92,570,000 176
1985 $368,200 85,530,000 232
1984 $400,000 77,620,000 194
1983 $324,300 81,770,000 252
1982 $275,000 85,240,000 310
1981 $222,000 68,290,000 308
1980 $185,000 76,240,000 412
1979 $162,300 74,740,000 461
1978 $125,000 78,940,000 632
1977 $110,000 62,050,000 564
1976 $107,000 57,710,000 539
1975 $103,500 56,050,000 542
1974 $88,100 51,700,000 587
1973 $86,100 53,320,000 619
1972 $72,500 56,640,000 781
1971 $78,200 46,040,000 589
1970 $55,000 44,270,000 805
1969 $54,500 41,660,000 764
1968 $42,500 39,120,000 920
1967 $37,500 51,180,000 1,365

* Estimated Viewers combines Nielsen ratings for broadcasts in English and Spanish, as well as viewers who watched via streaming services.


Sources:

Sports Media Watch
Ad Age
SuperBowl-ads.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *