Demand for Super Bowl ad time is higher than ever

To NFL fans, the Super Bowl may be all about football, but to advertisers across the nation, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest advertising day of the year. With viewership rising every year—the Big Game averaged 85 million viewers per year throughout the 1990s, 90 million viewers per year throughout the 2000s, and 109 million viewers per year since 2010—advertisers are desperate to get a piece of the marketing gold. And, according to Neil Mulcahy, executive vice president for sales at Fox Sports, commercial airtime was sold out before Thanksgiving—more than 8 weeks before Super Bowl XLVIII takes place.

The demand for airtime is good news for Fox, which is charging around $4 million for a 30-second spot, and is a good sign for the economy. In previous years, most notably during the economic recession, commercial airtime was still available for purchase during the week leading up to the game. Mulcahy told The New York Times the rebound of the automobile industry is a key factor in Super Bowl ad time demand. General Motors announced in August that it would return as a Super Bowl advertiser after skipping three out of the last five years.