Fox: Super Bowl Ads Sold Out

By SKIP WOLLENBERG, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – With just three days to spare, Fox said Thursday it had sold out all available commercial time in Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast at an average price of just under $2 million per 30-second ad.

Fox sold the last of the 60 commercial spots available in the game on Thursday afternoon, according to Fox spokesman Lou D’Ermilio.

He said about 32 different sponsors bought the in-game Super Bowl ads.

The Super Bowl telecast of the NFL championship game typically draws television’s biggest audience of the year and its ads carry TV’s highest price tags.

But this year’s average price is down from the revised $2.1 million average that industry insiders say CBS got for half-minute ads a year ago.

Both prices are below the record $2.2 million average for a 30-second spot that ABC said it got in 2000, when dot-com advertisers bought 40 percent of the commercial time. The dot-com bust later that year saw many fail, and some who survived have not been back.

This year’s ad sellout came later than usual as the economic slowdown, a pullback in ad spending and competition for advertising budgets from the Winter Olyumpics which start five days later depressed demand.

But D’Ermilio said Fox sold its last in-game ad a day sooner than when the network last telecast the NFL championship game three years ago.

Sunday’s game matches the New England Patriots against the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams and is being played in New Orleans.

The sponsors include the Super Bowl regulars like brewer Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi and several movie studios. Others include apparel brands Levis and Dockers, financial services concerns E-Trade, Charles Schwab and Visa, fast-food chains Taco Bell, Quizno’s and Subway, as well as delivery giant FedEx Corp.

The White House is airing a pair of commercials warning that buying illegal drugs could finance international terrorists.