Super Bowl

Super Bowl Is 90% Sold Out

Buyer Says Fewer Than 10 Spots Left

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NEW YORK ( -- Months before the first dip of a halftime-show buffalo wing, ad time for the Super Bowl is nearly sold out, according to people familiar with the situation. One media buyer estimated News Corp.'s Fox has "less than 10, but more than five" 30-second spots left to sell. A person familiar with the situation said Fox has sold more than 90% of its ad time for the game.

A Fox spokesman said ad-sales executives were not available for comment.

Surprise timing
The timing comes as a surprise. Typically, networks have a few spots left as Game Day nears and usually have to sell them cheaply. Demand from automobile advertisers and movie studios, however, has driven the marketplace this year. The Super Bowl usually brings in one of the biggest audiences for a media event and is viewed as a showcase for Madison Avenue's best work. For some, the ads are as much a reason to tune in as the game itself.

"Last year, you could have bought a sale in the 11th hour, and now it's just weird to even consider that if you want to be in there, you've got to act in November," said Jeff Gagne, VP-account director at Havas's MPG, who oversees sports negotiations.

One potential result of the flurry of movie and car ads could be less time for some of the smaller advertisers who often produce the Super Bowl's more offbeat commercials. More movie ads would also mean viewers would have to sit through more trailers and see fewer ads from other marketers tailored just for the event.

Given the demand, the network could seek more than full price for the remaining ad roosts.

Bonus: MySpace ads
Fox has been seeking as much as $2.7 million for a 30-second spot in next year's game and now might seek more, according to a person familiar with the situation.

As a bonus this year, Fox has offered advertisers the chance to place ads on corporate sibling MySpace, and the network will run on-air promotions during the game that will urge viewers to visit the social-networking website. Advertisers will be able to offer different perks to those who watch the ads online, including coupons, links to other websites or the chance to see movie trailers.

The game is set to air on Fox on Feb. 3.
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