Super Bowl, super bucks

Price Of Ad Time Surpasses `Seinfeld’ Finale

Dot-com firms push the cost of 30-second spot to record $2.2 million, netting ABC $130 million

By Judith Schoolman – New York Daily News

NEW YORK: More than 30 minutes of Super Bowl commercials by such regulars as Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch and a spate of dot-com companies will set a record for the richest TV advertising time — and bring ABC $130 million.

Nearly three dozen advertisers will pay the Super Bowl network an average of $2.2 million per 30-second spot for the Jan. 30 broadcast.

That’s 38 percent more than last year and even outguns ad time for the huge 1998 audience watching the final episode of Seinfeld, which brought NBC $1.7 million for 30 seconds.

“It’s the highest-rated program of the year and people actually watch the commercials,” said Larry Novenstern, senior vice president of sports marketing services at advertising agency BBDO New York.

“Clearly, it’s the best medium you could use,” spokesman Bob Liu said of the 130 million Americans expected to tune in. The employment search Web site — which advertised last year — has two 30-second spots., a rival career Web site, will use the Super Bowl to debut a new ad campaign during three 30-second pre-game ads and two 30-second spots during the action.

“The ad is a little magical and a little whimsical about finding the possibilities within yourself, but it’s not funny,” said Anne Hollows, the company’s senior vice president of brand strategies.

Last year, appeared on TV for the first time, with its ad featuring kids that speak like adults about their dead-end jobs.

The explosion in dot-com companies will be reflected in this year’s broadcast. About 20 percent of the time was bought by Internet businesses, a big increase over last year.

Online stationery store is sponsoring the half-hour pre-game show, airing four 30-second spots. During the game, there will be a 30-second ad, “Angry Brides,” which was described by industry observers as “brides meet the World Wrestling Federation.”

For its part, the WWF plans three of its own ads.

Food and drink ads in particular will find a willing game time audience, media experts said. Super Bowl Sunday is the largest eat-at-home day after Thanksgiving, during which viewers are expected to consume more than 8 million pounds of guacamole.

In order to cram more than 60 ads into the game, there are five 90-second breaks per quarter, said Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL.