NFL gives TV networks more ad time to sell during playoffs

January 19, 2021

Fully 78% of the audience for the annual Super Bowl watches the ads only as entertainment, according to Marketing Charts.

Most of those folks also are avid fans of the playoffs, we have to believe. And along with the TV networks, those viewers will be particularly pleased that this year the National Football League will allow CBS, NBC, and Fox to sell an additional two minutes of commercials during the playoff games, The Wall Street Journal reports.

That will mean several million dollars of new revenue for the networks, as NFL postseason games are among the most sought-after content for advertisers. A spot usually runs as high as $1 million during the early playoff rounds and can top $2 million for the conference championships that determine who plays in the Super Bowl, network executives said.

The league agreed to the additional ad inventory after requests from the broadcast networks, which had already sold the bulk of commercial time for the playoffs and wanted to capitalize on strong demand from advertisers.

The extra ad inventory will be for all of the playoff games starting this weeken—but doesn’t include Super Bowl LV, which will air on CBS on February 7, direct from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida. CBS is seeking as much as $5.5 million per commercial for the Super Bowl, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

“The marketplace has been very good,” said John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales for CBS. Bogusz told the Journal that the network is close to being sold out for the playoffs and has a few spots remaining for the Super Bowl.

This seasons’s playoffs will include two more games than usual, the NFL having expanded the number of teams that qualify to 14 from 12.

“We already had more inventory in the postseason to begin with, but the demand was really strong,” said Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer of NFL Media. Schroeder said the changes wouldn’t become permanent: “This is more about the moment we’re in.”

Research contact: @WSJ

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