The deal is said to encompass sponsorship of the halftime show as well as both online and offline components and is aimed at pushing the next generation of its pickup truck, the Tundra, according to executives close to negotiations. Experts have already called the new Tundra Toyota's most competitive ever, built at a new plant in truck-loving Texas.
Toyota's agency of record is ZenithMedia USA, which has traditionally attempted to beat the market and win its clients the best prices by negotiating early deals. Toyota is a longtime NBC advertiser and supports "The Today Show" concerts from the plaza at Rockefeller Center and also backed last year's boxing show, "The Contender." Toyota spent $358 million on network TV from January 2005 through to the end of February 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
NBC declined to comment. ZenithMedia referred calls to Toyota, which did not return calls by press time.
NBC is expected to invite a select group of advertisers to a separate NFL pitch after its upfront presentation May 15. NBC regained the rights to the NFL last year and will air major games for the first time since 1997. The network is paying $600 million a year for a six years to air the weekly games and future Super Bowls. NBC will air a pregame show on Sundays starting at 7 p.m. Eastern, with game coverage starting at 8:15 p.m. It will also delay afternoon games to air them in prime time.
Jean Halliday contributed to this report.