Reynolds Rap

Super Sales

2/01/2009 12:00 PM

There’s no need for Google TV Ads after all.

It may have come down to the eve of the Big Game, but NBC sold out all 67 spots in Super Bowl XLIII, en route to a record $206 million take, according to NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker.

And the Peacock didn’t go begging. Top prices were $3 million per 30-second spot and there were plenty of takers. Many others bought units in the $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion range. Of course, those who buy in bulk like Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi pay less — reportedly around $2.4 million per :30, maybe even less for the soft drink marketer, which picked up another three avails this week.

Still, NBC faced a daunting task, holding seven units into the last couple of weeks before the contest and facing a more formidable foe than the Dick LeBeau’s zone blitz scheme: the global economic malaise.

On Friday, GoDaddy.com said it has picked up a second Super Bowl unit and plans to run its “Baseball” creative in the fourth quarter (”Shower will run in the first). The Web domain registrant and advertising provocateur promised even more risqué fare on Internet-only versions of the spots that will air online during the game.
Cash4 Gold is also in the game. The direct-response marketer may not exactly have a blue-chip pedigree either, but green rules as the Peacock can preen over a $261 million haul across its entire Super Bowl day. Not bad, considering NBC’s annual media rights outlay is $600 annually.
NBC said the ads featured during the game also will be available for viewing almost immediately after they air at Web sites including NBC.com, Hulu.com (which has a unit in the game) and Superbowl.com.

Will advertisers get the over-under of 90 million viewers for their money with Cardinals-Steelers?

Both the Jan. 18 AFC and NFC championships dropped significantly from last year’s matchups. This year, Arizona-Philadelphia tallied 38.4 million viewers for Fox in the 3 p.m. window, while Pittsburgh-Baltimore tackled 40.6 million watchers on average for CBS. That compares with CBS’s 44.8 million for New England-San Diego in the 3 p.m. airing last year and 53.9 million for Fox’s subsequent coverage of Green Bay-New York, the largest audience for a non-Super Bowl TV show since the 1998 Seinfeld finale.

Still, there were special circumstances surrounding last year’s action: New England’s undefeated dream hadn’t turned into a nightmare yet, and two of the NFL’s oldest franchise faced off on the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field in what could have been the old gunslinger Brett Favre’s last roundup (just ask Jets fans, it should have been).

Despite the downgrades, the two conference championship games rank first and second during the 2008-09 TV season to date.

More cause for optimism: the Steelers travel well. Pittsburgh trails only Dallas and the G-men in terms of officially licensed merchandise sales. Moreover, it ranked third among all 122 pro sports franchises, according to a survey by Turnkey Sports and Entertainment in December. The Men of Steel were first the prior year.

They also play big on the box. Pittsburgh’s 1996 loss to America’s Team on Jan. 28, 1996 was the most-watched Super Bowl, scoring with almost 94.1 million viewers, until New York ended Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s historic quest in Super Bowl XLII, before 97.5 million watchers on average.

Pittsburgh also started the run of three consecutive Big Games with over 90 million averages, with 90.7 million against Paul Allen’s Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL on Feb. 6, 2006.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, the former Steelers offensive coordinator, knows enough about what makes Big Ben tick and can get him ticked. Kurt Warner beats enough blitzes to connect often enough with the 1,000-yard trio of Fitzgerald, Bolquin and Breaston. The injured Hines Ward slows down the Steelers.

It says here Arizona stays in it and so does the audience.

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