Advertisers seeking to tap into the 2020 Super Bowl are having to look at pre- and post-game slots after Fox Sports reported it had sold all 77 in-game slots – the first time in five years a network has sold all such inventory well ahead of game day.

Making the announcement, Seth Winter, Fox’s executive vice president of sports sales, said: “There are a number of advertisers, frankly, who couldn’t land their spots with us because their creative wasn’t ready or because of some indecisiveness, so we are going to go to pre- and post-game inventory to land their units.”

The nature of the in-game inventory is changing, Variety explained, with the same number of slots spread across four commercial breaks rather than five, meaning there are four fewer A and Z slots – the opening and closing positions in a break.

“That piques advertisers’ interest and encourages them to invest in their commercials early to secure premium inventory,” Winter said.

The average cost for a 30-second ad is $4.8m, with the most expensive spot coming in at $5.6m, Axios reported – this is despite viewership figures declining in recent years as streaming and social media options eat into traditional TV audiences. But Super Bowl remains one of the few significant opportunities to reach consumers live.

“I think because of how strong NFL ratings have been and the continued diminution of ratings across the entertainment categories, you’ve seen a lot of advertisers finally enter the NFL advertising market because it’s the only place you can find any audience at scale,” said Winter, in remarks reported by Broadcasting & Cable. “It just doesn’t exist elsewhere in ad-supported media.

“I’ve always felt the Super Bowl is worth twice what people charge for it,” he added.

Sourced from Variety, Axios, Broadcasting & Cable; additional content by WARC staff