Fox is adding more commercial time to the sold-out Super Bowl LIV to make room for some last-minute advertisers.
The network, which will broadcast the game on Feb. 2, is adding one commercial break to the game to accomodate marketers who are significant sponsors of both the National Football League and Fox Sports, says Seth Winter, executive VP of sales for Fox Sports.
The commercial break is a "floater," meaning it will come when there is an unforeseen break in the action. This, Winter says, will allow it to be an "organic interruption in the game and one that warrants leaving the field of play."
Fox announced on Nov. 25 that it sold out of commercial inventory in the Super Bowl, marking the fastest sellout of the game in at least the last five years.
At the time, Winter had said not a single commercial unit was held back for the stragglers. But it seems with Super Bowl ad units topping out $5.6 million for a 30-second spot, adding inventory might be just too attractive an option to turn down.
"We have had extraordinary demand this year in the Super Bowl, beyond any expectation we had prior to Thanksgiving when we announced we were sold out," Winter says. Not only has Fox been fielding calls from advertisers looking to get into the game, there has also been demand from current advertisers to expand their buys from 30-seconds to 60 or 60-second to 90, he says.
"We have been working daily with the NFL to try to figure out a way to expand the inventory without detracting from the game," Winter says.
There will be 28 long-form commercials in the broadcast, he says. Fox considers any spot of 45-seconds or longer to be long-form. There are "many" 60-second ads, the network says, and a few 90-second spots.
Fox said last year it was reducing the number of commercial breaks in the broadcast from five per quarter to four, bringing the total number of breaks to 16 from 20. While the move cuts down on the number of scheduled interruptions in the game, the actual commercial count was not reduced.
Even with the addition of another commercial break, Winter says the broadcast will still have fewer interruptions than it did previously. "We are very focused on minimizing clutter," he says. To that end, Winter decided to eliminate roughly half the billboards in the broadcast.
While Fox did not reveal which advertisers it will accomodate, Microsoft could be one of those brands, according to people familiar with the situation. The company, an official sponsor of the NFL, advertised in the game last year but has not yet announced its return.
Join Ad Age on Jan. 28 as we bring together some of the top brands, agencies and creatives, including Hyundai, BBDO, Sabra hummus, Madonna Badger, Pop-Tarts and WeatherTech, to discuss what it takes to pull off a Super Bowl commercial.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz