Super Bowl ads still not sold out

The most expensive Super Bowl ever still has advertising space for sale, and NBC is filling the holes left by a dearth of car ads with a possible record number of first-time game advertisers.

That is the frank, teleconference assessment on Wednesday from Seth Winter, EVP sales and marketing NBC Sports Group and NBCUniversal News Group. “It’s been a little tougher than some years,” he said. “We’re not impervious to conditions in the marketplace.”

Even then, Winter said, NBC is 95% sold out and “much further along” than it was in 2012. The 30-second slots are selling for a record $4.4 million to $4.5 million, he said and the network still expects to “meet or exceed our sales goals” and be sold out by kickoff.

The story of the day is carmakers, who seem to have backed away from the Feb. 1 game broadcast. For years, Super Bowl TV networks have depended on automakers to snap up a major chunk of the ad slots. But Winter says the number of auto-related ad slots sold is down by nearly half, from the mid-20s in 2012 to “the low teens” this year.

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