Super Bowl

Super Bowl, Supersized: $4.5 Billion in Ad Spending Over 50 Years

Stats on Advertising in the Big Game From 1967 Through 2016

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How much money has been spent on advertising in the first 50 years of the Super Bowl? A total of $4.5 billion, according to Ad Age's analysis.

Advertising's biggest game gets more supersized every year.

Ad spending for commercials during the game on Feb. 7's Super Bowl 50 broadcast on CBS will total a record $377 million, according to Ad Age Datacenter's estimate. That's more than was spent on the Super Bowl in the 1960s, '70s and '80s combined ($299 million).

Super Bowl ad spending at 50-year line: $4.5 billion
Average cost for 30-second commercial and estimated total in-game TV ad spending. Total advertising spending in first 50 years: $4.5 billion ($5.9 billion, adjusted for inflation).
Average cost for 30-second spot
Total ad spending
See the full table
In-game ad spending:
Average cost for 30-second spot
In-game ad spending:
Total ad spending ($ million)
Super Bowl No. Year Adjusted for
inflation
Adjusted for
inflation
1 1967 $40,000 $289,000 $1.7 $12.4
2 1968 54,000 376,000 2.3 16.2
3 1969 67,500 450,000 2.9 19.4
4 1970 78,200 491,000 3.4 21.1
5 1971 72,000 429,000 3.1 18.5
6 1972 86,000 497,000 3.7 21.4
7 1973 103,500 577,000 4.5 24.8
8 1974 107,000 545,000 4.6 23.4
9 1975 110,000 501,000 4.7 21.5
10 1976 125,000 534,000 5.4 22.9
11 1977 162,000 657,000 7.0 28.3
12 1978 185,000 703,000 8.0 30.2
13 1979 222,000 771,000 9.5 33.2
14 1980 275,000 839,000 11.8 36.1
15 1981 324,300 885,000 13.9 38.0
16 1982 345,000 868,000 14.9 37.5
17 1983 400,000 971,000 20.0 48.5
18 1984 450,000 1,048,000 21.4 49.7
19 1985 500,000 1,125,000 26.3 59.1
20 1986 550,000 1,191,000 28.1 60.7
21 1987 575,000 1,227,000 31.5 67.2
22 1988 600,000 1,231,000 34.8 71.4
23 1989 675,000 1,323,000 35.5 69.5
24 1990 700,000 1,304,000 39.0 72.6
25 1991 800,000 1,411,000 45.6 80.4
26 1992 800,000 1,375,000 48.0 82.5
27 1993 850,000 1,415,000 49.3 82.1
28 1994 900,000 1,461,000 52.2 84.7
29 1995 1,150,000 1,816,000 69.7 110.0
30 1996 1,085,000 1,668,000 65.1 100.1
31 1997 1,200,000 1,790,000 71.8 107.1
32 1998 1,292,000 1,898,000 80.1 117.7
33 1999 1,600,000 2,311,000 103.4 149.4
34 2000 2,100,000 2,953,000 132.3 186.0
35 2001 2,200,000 2,982,000 136.4 184.9
36 2002 2,200,000 2,948,000 134.2 179.8
37 2003 2,150,000 2,808,000 130.1 169.9
38 2004 2,302,000 2,950,000 149.6 191.8
39 2005 2,400,000 2,987,000 158.4 197.1
40 2006 2,500,000 2,992,000 162.5 194.5
41 2007 2,385,000 2,796,000 151.5 177.6
42 2008 2,700,000 3,036,000 186.3 209.4
43 2009 3,000,000 3,372,000 213.0 239.4
44 2010 2,974,000 3,257,000 205.2 224.8
45 2011 3,100,000 3,341,000 227.9 245.6
46 2012 3,500,000 3,665,000 262.5 274.9
47 2013 4,000,000 4,123,000 292.0 300.9
48 2014 4,200,000 4,261,000 331.8 336.7
49 2015 4,400,000 4,468,000 345.4 350.8
50 2016 4,800,000 4,800,000 376.8 376.8
Total $4,518.9 $5,858.5
Source: Estimated average unit cost for 30-second in-game commercials from Kantar Media, Nielsen and Ad Age Datacenter. Estimated total in-game ad spending from Ad Age Datacenter (1967-1981, 2016) and Kantar Media (1982-2015). Inflation adjustments, from Ad Age, translate previous years' ad costs and spending into estimated current (2016) dollars using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. More info: kantarmedia.us; nielsen.com; bls.gov.

More big game punting:

  • Total ad spending on commercials in the Super Bowl from 1967 through 2016, adjusted for inflation: $5.9 billion.
  • Super Bowl 50's estimated share of 2016 U.S. broadcast network TV ad spending: Record 2.4%, double the level in 2010 (1.2%), four times level in 1995 (0.6%) and six times level in 1990 (0.4%).
  • Average cost for a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl 50: $4.8 million.
  • Average cost of 30 seconds in Super Bowl I: $40,000 ($289,000, adjusted for inflation).
  • Price per second for a 2016 spot: $160,000. That's 120 times the average cost for a second on Super Bowl I ($1,333).
  • Amount spent per viewer in 2015 on in-game advertising, based on estimated total ad spending divided by Nielsen's average number of viewers: $3.02.
  • Number of years that Super Bowl commercial prices fell: five (1971, 1996, 2003, 2007, 2010).
  • Biggest percent increases in price of a commercial: 1968 (35%), the second year of the Super Bowl; 2000 (31%), when Pets.com and 16 other internet upstarts shoveled cash from venture capital and stock offerings into the game amid the dot-com bubble.
Cost for one second of Super Bowl advertising
1967
$1,333
1977
$5,400
1981
$10,810
1988
$20,000
1997
$40,000
2005
$80,000
2016
$160,000
Source: Ad Age Datacenter analysis. See source line in main accompanying graphic.

Milestones in price of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial:

  • 1973: topped $100,000.
  • 1985: reached $500,000.
  • 1995: topped $1 million.
  • 2000: topped $2 million.
  • 2009: reached $3 million.
  • 2013: reached $4 million.
Super Bowl ad spending by decade
Ad spending in Super Bowl 50 (estimated $377 million) will exceed ad spending on the big game in the 1960s, '70s and '80s ($299 million). Total for first 50 years: $4.5 billion.
Source: Ad Age Datacenter analysis. Numbers rounded. See source line in main accompanying graphic.
Charts by Chen Wu