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Is the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial worth it to brands anymore?

Over the last decade, the price to feature a commercial during the annual Super Bowl has grown exponentially as the game's viewership has increased.

The biggest NFL game of the year and one of the biggest sporting events in the world is the annual Super Bowl championship game. The Sunday game is watched by tens of millions of Americans across the country to see which team will take down the top award in the league. 

On Feb. 12, 2023, Super Bowl LVII will take place in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

For decades, the Super Bowl's popularity has attracted advertisers representing the biggest corporations in the world. Revenue from the Super Bowl totals approximately hundreds of millions every year.

In recent years, the return on investment has been strong for companies spending money to advertise their products during the Super Bowl. Some of the top advertising brands for the 2021 Super Bowl included General Motors, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Mountain Dew, all which earned an average return on investment of $4.60 per dollar spent, according to research and data collected by Kantar. 


Creativity and consumer spending play a direct role in the Super Bowl as fans tend to buy from the advertisement they remember the most. Advertisements have an engaging role in the Super Bowl as the event's high viewership continues its dominance. 

"Most people tend to run in the opposite direction of advertising, but [the] Super Bowl remains the one day where they don’t," said Joe Glennon, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising at Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication, in an interview. "There’s still no better way to reach 70, 80, or 90 million people all at once than the Super Bowl. There is also incredible brand-building power in having lots of people see you at the same time."

A 30-second advertisement for the Super Bowl has increasingly become more expensive over the last decade as viewership for the event continues to grow each year. During Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, when the Cincinnati Bengals competed against the Los Angeles Rams, a 30-second advertisement would cost an average sponsor $6.5 million on average, according to Statista. 

From 2017 to 2021, a 30-second advertisement cost an average range of $5.4 to $5.5 million. For the most part, advertising rates have consistently increased at the Super Bowl for the last decade. 

Most Super Bowl advertisements stay between the 15 to 30-second time range. However, if an advertisement did break into the one-minute mark, it would likely cost the sponsor nearly double the average costs of a 30-second ad.

Since brands pay such a high cost to show off their products, advertisements tend to emphasize an entertainment angle rather than a serious or logical pitch to consumers. As a result, a consumer trend has been created over the years surrounding Super Bowl advertisements, as some non-sports enthusiasts tune in only to watch the commercials. 

The cost of a commercial on the Super Bowl has increased exponentially over the years, even after accounting for inflation. During Super Bowl I in January 1967, the cost of a 30-second advertisement would cost sponsorship approximately $42,000, which is equivalent to over $350,000 in 2022. 

For the last two decades, the cost of advertising at the Super Bowl has progressively increased. In 1990, the cost of a commercial had risen to $700,000 in the Super Bowl, but by 2010 had increased $2.95 million. 


As social media has become more popular over recent years, advertisers have started pre-releasing Super Bowl commercials online before it appears on live television. The logic behind the pre-release is that it allows advertisers to allow their commercials to reach audiences that do not tune into the Super Bowl. 

Moreover, the advertisement's longevity increases because its popularity is not completely reliant on the Super Bowl. 

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