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TV-10: Local Super Bowl ads hit record price

Rochester Business Journal
February 3, 2012

With most experts predicting Sunday’s Super Bowl will set television ratings records, national and local advertisers are shelling out a record amount of money for commercial spots.

National advertisers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser and LLC reportedly are spending an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial, up from $3 million during last year’s Super Bowl which was on New Corp.’s Fox network.

Derek Dalton, vice president and general manager of WHEC-TV-10, an affiliate of NBC, which will broadcast this year’s, said 30-second, local commercial spots went for an average of $15,000 to $20,000—more than any prior year.

“They are predicting that this will be the most watched event in television history,” Dalton said. “All of these advertisers are trying to reach the largest and most diverse audience possible.”

Last year’s Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers drew 106.5 million viewers, Nielsen Co. ratings figures show. Most Las Vegas betting websites have predicted this Sunday’s matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Giants will draw some 115 million viewers.

Dalton said the historic hype for this year’s game is due, in part, to the matchup. The Giants and Patriots represent two of the nation’s largest markets: New York and Boston. The game is also a rematch of what is widely considered one of the greatest Super Bowls in recent memory.

In 2008, the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots with a dramatic touchdown drive during the last two minutes. That game produced a 56 household rating in the Rochester market, Dalton said, meaning 56 percent of local households had the Super Bowl on in their homes.

This year’s percentages are expected to be much higher, which is why all 14 of the local commercial slots sold out faster than ever, he said.

“There is a very diverse group of local advertisers this year,” Dalton said. “There is everything from health care and automotive, to pizza and theater.”

With the growth of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Super Bowl ads have taken on a life of their own before, during and far after the game. Some commercials already have leaked to the Internet in recent weeks.

“For many, the main reason to tune into the Super Bowl is to watch the ads,” said William Murtha, president and CEO of Roberts Communications Inc. “And in today’s social world, viewers will likely be juggling smart phones, laptops and tablets during the big game.”

Roberts Communications will play host to the Customer Bowl VI, a social media driven discussion where viewers can rate the Super Bowl ads on Roberts Communications Facebook page or on Twitter suing the hashtag #CustomerBowl. Murtha said the promotion generated 800 comments and likes in 2010.

Dalton said social media offers a big incentive for Super Bowl advertising willing to spend big dollars. While 106.5 million people watched last year’s Super Bowl, more than 300 million watched Super Bowl ads online, Bloomberg reports.

This year’s Super Bowl kicks off a big year for television advertising. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will air on NBC in July. Dalton said many are predicting the games will draw the largest audience for any Olympic games.

“These things are huge for us,” he said. “Our mission is to be able to inform, educate and entertain in an effort to strengthen and unite the community. This is certainly helping us live up to that.”

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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