A blockbuster ad in the biggest advertising date in the United States is likely to remain eye-wateringly expensive in 2021 as buyers seek assurances of freedom to walk should COVID disrupt.

According to the Wall Street Journal, ViacomCBS, which is set to broadcast the game on the 7th Feb 2021, is asking $5.5 million for a 30-second spot.

It’s notable for being similar to that asked for the 2020 game, which saw Fox flogging 30-second spots for $5.6 million. Partly, it’s because each passing year tends to bring a price hike; partly, it’s because that’s still a lot of money.  

The pandemic’s influence is all around, though, and not just in the question marks surrounding whether the game will take place. Brands will also have to fork out in order to be broadcast on the digital stream.

But a bigger influence is felt in the new normal’s many contingencies. “There’s no Plan B for Super Bowl,” said one telling quote to the journal from an agency professional. This has meant that buyers are seeking an exit strategy from their purchase should the game not go ahead. The Journal reports that while some buyers have sought assurances in written contract form, most agreements have so far been verbal.

Meanwhile, as much for clients as agencies, uncertainty is part of normality. “There is a hedge in every brief,” said Rob Schwartz, CEO at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, in comments reported by AdAge.

But many of the questions surrounding the season are similar to those faced by other sports and other countries. Though there are typically a unique set of lessons and strategies put together for the Super Bowl, it’s likely that lessons will come from other big yearly events such as the recent Champions League final, a tournament fought between the top soccer clubs in Europe, held behind closed doors in Lisbon.

Sourced from WSJ, AdAge, WARC