Are you ready for some Super Bowl ads?

By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY

Now that the National Football League’s regular season has ended, the countdown to Super Bowl XLI has begun. While sports fans are focused on which teams will make it to the Feb. 4 game, folks in the advertising business are watching to see which marketers suit up for the CBS broadcast.

The latest addition to the lineup will come Wednesday when Diamond Foods announces it will be back with another commercial for Emerald nuts.

Emerald’s 30-second ad will fill one of about 60 ad slots for sale in the big game. While CBS won’t say how many 30-second slots have sold or the average price, sports sales head John Bogusz says that some have gone for more than $2.6 million. “We’re in very good shape,” he says.

ABC broadcast the game last year and averaged about $2.5 million per slot, Nielsen Monitor-Plus says.

Diamond Foods signed on early and paid about $2 million for its third-quarter spot, CEO Michael Mendes says. That’s about what it spent last year on its fourth-quarter slot — but it’s getting better real estate.

Diamond’s buy illustrates how much the price of a Super Bowl ad can vary. For instance, buyers who lock in early or take multiple slots generally get a discount. Fourth-quarter prices tend to drop because some viewers change channels if the game’s a blowout.