NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- CBS is approaching a 90% sell-out for its Feb. 7, 2010, broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV, according to the network's head of sports sales, meaning the Tiffany network likely has only between six and 12 30-second ad spots left to sell from the 62 typically sold for this classic TV event.
Sales have been "surprisingly good," said John Bogusz, CBS's exec VP-sports sales and marketing, who suggested CBS was pacing ahead of Super Bowl ad sales for the 2007 Super Bowl telecast, the last time the network broadcast the game. He said CBS has "a couple of units" left to sell in the first half of the game, but that the bulk of remaining inventory is in the fourth quarter of the contest.
While monitoring Super Bowl ad sales has long been an ad-industry pastime, this season's process is also being viewed as a barometer of a battered ad economy. In the last Super Bowl broadcast, the economy weighed so heavily on marketers that no U.S. automaker put an ad in the game, and nor did FedEx Corp., a veteran ad supporter of the event.
It's not clear that these companies will return, though General Motors has been considering using the Super Bowl to advertise its GMC vehicles, according to people familiar with the situation. A FedEx spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment. The company has previously said it was mulling a Super Bowl return.
Motorola, which is the maker of the handset for the new Droid smartphone being sold by Verizon Wireless, will advertise in the game, according to people familiar with the situation. "At this time we have no comment and no information to share," a Motorola spokeswoman said in a statement sent via e-mail.
CBS has sought between $2.5 million and $3 million for a 30-second ad, with the higher prices allocated to prime inventory, such as the first ad in a commercial break closer to the start of the pigskin skirmish. Many of those "A" spots have already been sold, according to media buyers.
Foreign automakers are showing robust interest in the next Super Bowl broadcast, with Hyundai Motor, which also had a strong presence in the last broadcast, already signing up. Other advertisers who have already signaled they will appear in the upcoming Super Bowl include Bridgestone, GoDaddy.com, PepsiCo, Careerbuilder and, of course, InBev Anheuser-Busch. Monster is also taking part, according to people familiar with the situation, though the company has yet to publicly confirm its presence.