NEW YORK: The decision of Pepsi and General Motors not to make Super Bowl ads has helped to push down prices for 30-second spots for only the second time in the event's history, figures from TNS Media Intelligence have suggested.

Short ads are thought to cost $2.5-2.8m (€1.72-1.93m, £1.55-1.73m) this year, down from 2009's average of $3m (€2.07m, £1.86m).

Domestic Super Bowl audiences are traditionally exceptionally high, with this year's game expected to attract around 100m US viewers to the CBS network when it takes place next month.

CBS, which has not made public the amount it paid to broadcast this year's game, believes ad sales have been stronger this year than they were for NBC, last year's broadcaster.

John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales and marketing for CBS, said: "We believe our pricing is similar and believe we are in a better sellout position than they were at this time going into the game."

While a large majority of the 62 spots available this year are thought to have been purchased, some major brands have already said they will not be buying space, with the recession taking its toll on corporate balance sheets.

Pepsi has released Super Bowl advertising in each of the previous 22 years, while GM, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, has bought spots in 11 of the previous 12.

Commenting on the TNS data, Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Kellogg School of Management, said that buyers were increasingly focusing on value for money due to the difficult US economic climate.

"In a way, Super Bowl advertisers are acting like people are acting in the economy, which is they'll buy only if there's a deal," he said.

"If the price is right, people will step up."

TNS also said that between one in five and one in four of each year's Super Bowl advertisers are "new", having not bought space for the previous year's event.

Data sourced from AP; additional content by Warc staff