Super Bowl

Big Game Punting: Super Bowl Scores $5.4 Billion in Ad Spending Over 52 Years

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Tom Brady of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI on Fox's broadcast Feb. 5, 2017.
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI on Fox's broadcast Feb. 5, 2017. Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When Super Bowl LII is a wrap on Feb. 4, marketers will have spent a total of some $5.4 billion advertising in the game's first 52 years.

Ad spending for commercials during NBC's Super Bowl LII broadcast is running in the ballpark of $419 million, according to Ad Age Datacenter's estimate. If the average price of a 30-second spot in the game didn't rise appreciably between 2017 and 2018, broadcasters can take solace in the fact that the latest Super Bowl more than doubled marketers' outlay as recently as 2010.

Even more striking: The Super Bowl alone this year will capture about 2.5% of broadcast network advertising for the entire year, double its share in 2010.

Super Bowl ad spending, 1967-2018: $5.4 billion
Average cost for 30-second commercial and estimated total in-game TV ad spending since first Super Bowl in 1967. Total advertising spending over 52 years: $5.4 billion ($6.9 billion, adjusted for inflation).
Average cost for 30-second spot
Total ad spending
See the full table
In-game ad spending:
Average cost for 30-second spot
In-game ad spending:
Total ad spending ($ million)
Super Bowl No. Year Adjusted for
inflation
Adjusted for
inflation
1 1967 $40,000 $300,000 $2 $13
2 1968 54,000 391,000 2 17
3 1969 67,500 468,000 3 20
4 1970 78,200 510,000 3 22
5 1971 72,000 446,000 3 19
6 1972 86,000 516,000 4 22
7 1973 103,500 599,000 4 26
8 1974 107,000 566,000 5 24
9 1975 110,000 521,000 5 22
10 1976 125,000 555,000 5 24
11 1977 162,000 683,000 7 29
12 1978 185,000 730,000 8 31
13 1979 222,000 802,000 10 34
14 1980 275,000 872,000 12 37
15 1981 324,300 919,000 14 40
16 1982 345,000 902,000 15 39
17 1983 400,000 1,009,000 20 50
18 1984 450,000 1,089,000 21 52
19 1985 500,000 1,169,000 26 61
20 1986 550,000 1,238,000 28 63
21 1987 575,000 1,275,000 31 70
22 1988 600,000 1,279,000 35 74
23 1989 675,000 1,375,000 35 72
24 1990 700,000 1,355,000 39 75
25 1991 800,000 1,466,000 46 84
26 1992 800,000 1,429,000 48 86
27 1993 850,000 1,470,000 49 85
28 1994 900,000 1,518,000 52 88
29 1995 1,150,000 1,887,000 70 114
30 1996 1,085,000 1,733,000 65 104
31 1997 1,200,000 1,860,000 72 111
32 1998 1,292,000 1,972,000 80 122
33 1999 1,600,000 2,402,000 103 155
34 2000 2,100,000 3,069,000 132 193
35 2001 2,200,000 3,099,000 136 192
36 2002 2,200,000 3,064,000 134 187
37 2003 2,150,000 2,919,000 130 177
38 2004 2,302,000 3,066,000 150 199
39 2005 2,400,000 3,104,000 158 205
40 2006 2,500,000 3,110,000 163 202
41 2007 2,385,000 2,906,000 151 185
42 2008 2,700,000 3,155,000 186 218
43 2009 3,000,000 3,505,000 213 249
44 2010 2,974,000 3,385,000 205 234
45 2011 3,100,000 3,472,000 228 255
46 2012 3,500,000 3,809,000 263 286
47 2013 4,000,000 4,285,000 292 313
48 2014 4,200,000 4,429,000 332 350
49 2015 4,400,000 4,644,000 345 365
50 2016 4,800,000 4,998,000 370 385
51 2017 5,050,000 5,130,000 419 426
52 2018 5,050,000 5,050,000 419 419
Total $5,350 $6,927
Source: Estimated average unit cost for 30-second in-game commercial from Kantar Media, Nielsen and Ad Age Datacenter. Estimated total in-game ad spending (all spots airing between opening kickoff and final whistle at end of game) from Ad Age Datacenter (1967-1981, 2018) and Kantar Media (1982-2017). Inflation adjustments, from Ad Age, translate previous years' ad costs and spending into estimated current (2018) dollars. Numbers rounded. More info: kantarmedia.com; nielsen.com.

More big-game stats:

  • Total ad spending on commercials in the Super Bowl from 1967 through 2017, adjusted for inflation: $6.9 billion.
  • Super Bowl LII's estimated share of 2018 U.S. broadcast network TV ad spending: 2.5%, double the level in 2010 (1.2%), four times the level in 1995 (0.6%) and six times the level in 1990 (0.4%).
  • Average cost for a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl LII: Just over $5 million.
  • Average cost of 30 seconds in Super Bowl I: $40,000 ($300,000, adjusted for inflation).
  • Price per second for a 2018 commercial: $168,333. That's more than 125 times the cost for a second on Super Bowl I ($1,333).
  • Number of years 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; and 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
Commercial time on last year's game cost an estimated $168,333 per second.
1967 $1,333
1977 $5,400
1987 $19,167
1997 $40,000
2007 $79,500
2017 $168,333
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.
  • 2017: topped $5 million.
Super Bowl's share of broadcast network advertising
Estimated Super Bowl total in-game TV ad spending as percent of the year's estimated U.S. broadcast network TV ad spending. The big game this year will capture about 2.5% of broadcast network advertising, double its share in 2010.
Source: Ad Age Datacenter analysis. Estimated total in-game ad spending as percent of Zenith's estimate of full-year network ad spending. Numbers rounded. See source line in main accompanying graphic. More info: zenithmedia.com.

Super Bowl ad spending by decade
Ad spending in last year's Super Bowl (estimated $419 million) exceeded ad spending on the big game in the 1960s, '70s and '80s ($299 million). Total over 52 years: $5.4 billion.
Source: Ad Age Datacenter analysis. Numbers rounded. See source line in main accompanying graphic.
Charts by Chen Wu/Ad Age.

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