A 30 second Super Bowl ad costs $5 million in 2016. That’s the cost just to run the ad. Including production, a 30 second Super Bowl ad can cost $15 million. A 60 second ad can cost twice that. An ad in the first Super Bowl in 1967 cost just $40,000. The total network revenue from all Super Bowl ads this year will add up to $450 million.
Is it worth it? Do companies make back their $5 million to $10 million cost for a single Super Bowl ad? Is it really worth $167,000 per second? Or $500,000 per second for the most expensively produced ads? It may be. See the tables below for the reason why.
Super Bowl Ad Cost Through Time
Super Bowl ads cost a lot. In 1967 a single Super Bowl ad cost $40,000. That’s $284,000 inflation adjusted dollars. In 2016 a single 30 second Super Bowl ad costs $5 million. That’s 125 times more than it started out at the very first Super Bowl.
The table below shows the growth of the cost of a Super Bowl ad from 1967 to today.
Super Bowl Ad Cost Through Time
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1967||$40,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1970||$78,200|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1975||$110,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1980||$275,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1985||$500,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1990||$700,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 1995||$1,000,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 2000||$2,100,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 2005||$2,400,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 2010||$2,650,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 2015||$4,000,000|
|Super Bowl Ad Cost 2016||$5,000,000|
As you can see, Super Bowl ad cost has nearly doubled every five years since the very first Super Bowl in 1967. Exceptions are in the period from 1995 through 2010. At that time, the cost of a Super Bowl ad seems to have reached a plateau.
Also see: How Much Money Do NFL Players Make?
Super Bowl Ad Cost 2016
In 2016, the networks will have space to air about 45 minutes of Super Bowl ads. That’s about 55 total ads. We’ve sampled ten ads at random below. We’ve estimated the production cost of each ad based on factors like star power, CGI and other costs. Total Super Bowl ad cost includes both production cost and the $5 million cost to air a 30 second spot.
Super Bowl Ad Cost Facts
|Super Bowl Ad Cost||Production Cost (est.)||Cost to Air|
|Wix Panda Super Bowl Ad (30 sec, cost includes licensing)||$2,000,000||$5,000,000|
|LG Man from the Future Super Bowl Ad (60 sec, low production cost)||$500,000||$10,000,000|
|#Pokemon20 Super Bowl Commercial (60 sec)||$500,000||$5,000,000|
|Meet the Marmot Super Bowl Ad (60 sec)||$750,000||$10,000,000|
|Amazon Echo Baldwin Super Bowl Ad (2 x 30 sec, high cost of Baldwin)||$2,000,000||$5,000,000|
|The Beans Apartments.com Super Bowl Commercial (60 sec)||$500,000||$10,000,000|
|Game of War Super Bowl Ad (60 sec)||$1,000,000||$5,000,000|
|AXE Find Your Magic Super Bowl Commercial (60 sec)||$500,000||$10,000,000|
|T Mobile Drake Super Bowl Ad (30 sec, high star cost)||$2,500,000||$5,000,000|
|Budweiser Super Bowl Ads (2x60 sec, two ads, double production cost)||$3,000,000||$20,000,000|
|Total Super Bowl Ad Cost for 10 Ads||$13,250,000||$85,000,000|
The cost just for airing the ten Super Bowl ads above is $85 million. The total Super Bowl ad cost to air all 45 minutes of 2016 ads is $450 million. Including production, the total Super Bowl ad cost for 2016 comes to $520 million.
Total Super Bowl Ad Cost
|Cost to Air One 30 Second Super Bowl Ad||$5,000,000|
|Total Super Bowl Ad Minutes||45|
|Total Cost to Air All Super Bowl Ads||$450,000,000|
|Total Super Bowl Ad Production Cost (est)||$70,000,000|
|Total Super Bowl Ad Cost 2016||$520,000,000|
Also see: Peyton Manning Net Worth
Super Bowl Ad Cost: Is it Worth It?
Considering the question of Super Bowl ad cost vs Super Bowl viewers alone, the return doesn’t at first seem worth the expense. Estimates place viewership for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 at 120 million viewers. The math doesn’t seem to work. Assume Campbell’s soup’s 60 second ad sells one can of soup to every hundredth viewer. At about $1 a can, they’ll make $1.2 million. That’s not a great return for a cost of $12 million for ad production and placement.
Also, stack Super Bowl ad cost up against other advertising options. A single video from YouTuber PewDiePie can get 50 million viewers. That means if Campbell’s placed an ad on PewDiePie’s channel they could reach more viewers on 15 minutes of PewDiePie videos than in the entire Super Bowl. How much does it cost to place an ad on YouTube? Probably a lot less than the Super Bowl.
Also see: Cam Newton Net Worth
Why Super Bowl Ad Cost is Worth It
Here’s why a Super Bowl ad is worth the cost. Despite much cheaper alternatives that can reach larger numbers of people, there’s a multiplier effect on Super Bowl ads. Consider the table below:
Super Bowl Ad Cost: Worth the Money
Ad Cost (Airing + Production)
Potential Additional Views
Cost Per 1,000 Viewers
|Super Bowl Ad||$12,000,000||120,000,000||5,000,000,000||$2.34|
Super Bowl ad cost doesn’t just buy 120 million single views on Super Bowl Sunday. It potentially buys billions of views. That’s because the really successful Super Bowl ads are going to get talked about. They’re going to get put online and watched over and over again. They’re going to get shared on Facebook and Twitter. They’re going to get analyzed and replayed on dozens or even hundreds of news and entertainment shows. They’re going to get embedded and re-posted on YouTube by every pop channel out there. Super Bowl ads are going to get written about in hundreds or even thousands of blog posts like this one. Finally, they’re going to get talked about around the water cooler in the office and around the dinner table at home.
The very best Super Bowl ads have the potential to get not 120 million views but billions. Doing the math on that, Super Bowl ad cost per viewer turns out to be much lower than other, apparently cheaper options.
Super Bowl Ad Cost: A Few More Commercials
See the section below for a few more Super Bowl ads and their costs. Costs include price to air and production. 30 second ads cost $5 million, while 60 second ads cost twice that.
Wix Kung Fu Panda Super Bowl ad cost: $7,000,000
LG Man from the Future Super Bowl ad cost: $10,500,000.
#Pokemon20 Super Bowl ad cost: $5,500,000
Meet the Marmot Super Bowl Ad Cost: $10,750,000.
Amazon Echo Super Bowl ad cost: $7,000,000.
The Beans Apartments.com Super Bowl ad cost: $10,500,000.
Game of War Super Bowl ad cost: $6,000,000.
AXE Super Bowl ad cost: $10,500,000.
T Mobile Drake Super Bowl ad cost: $7,500,000.
Budweiser Super Bowl ad cost: $23,000,000.
NFL Research at Syracuse.com