- A 30-second Super Bowl commercial cost $7 million in 2023.
- Costs have increased by more than $5 million over the past 20 years, even as viewership hasn’t changed significantly.
- While the Super Bowl is a good advertising opportunity, it’s not worth the cost for every business.
Last year, more than 113 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. It’s one of the most-watched television events of the year, and whether audiences are tuning in for the game, the cheeky commercials, or a Taylor Swift sighting, it’s a unique opportunity for companies to do advertising with incredible numbers.
Unfortunately, advertising during the Super Bowl comes at a high price to match the hype.
According to the website Statista, over the past 20 years, the average cost of a 30-second commercial during the show has increased by more than $5 million, even when adjusted for inflation. In 2023, the cost for a 30-second spot was $7 million.
Average Super Bowl commercial cost over the years
A 2020 Statista survey found that 71% of Super Bowl viewers enjoy watching commercials for entertainment.
Not only will millions of viewers tune in, but the entertainment factor will lead news sites to cover and replay the commercial after the fact, giving companies even more coverage.
That’s why the average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl LVII commercial in 2023 was $7 million — a peak in the event’s pricing history.
In the last decade alone, the cost has nearly doubled and will likely continue to increase. However, the increase in costs is not necessarily due to an increase in viewership, Todd Cohen, vice president of National Video/CTV Strategy at Undertone by Perion, said in an email.
“Super Bowl advertising costs have nearly doubled over the past decade, from $4 million in 2014 for a 30-second spot, to more than $7 million in 2024, for a similar audience of about 113 million viewers. TV audiences have never been more fragmented, so this price growth shows how much more valuable reaching a mass audience right away has become,” she said.
How to Compare Super Bowl Advertising Costs
Clearly, Super Bowl advertising costs are high. But how do they actually compare to other primetime ad placements?
According to Frank Maguire, vice president of insights, strategy and sustainability at Sharethrough, the price is incomparable, especially since other advertising costs are actually decreasing.
“Generally, the cost of advertising on prime-time TV has declined over the past six months, with numerous factors converging on the 2023 upfront market, which has caused lower prices than in years past,” Maguire said in an e-mail. email.
“To put the $7 million cost of Super Bowl commercials in perspective, the most expensive show to air a commercial on includes NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football,’ where the average unit cost is more than seven times less equal to 882,079 dollars. Another expensive program to advertise on includes “The Voice’s Monday” and Tuesday night broadcasts, which cost an average of $125,833 and $122,899 for 30 seconds,” he added.
Is it worth paying for a Super Bowl commercial?
With such a high price tag, Super Bowl commercials will have to generate quite a bit of revenue to break even. Even if the number of viewers is high, do these commercials actually induce customers to buy the products?
According to a study conducted by Stanford University, success rates vary. Super Bowl commercials generate a high amount of traffic and revenue for brands, but competition between similar products and services is strong, which can negate the gains.
“From an attention perspective, very few advertising options can compare to a Super Bowl ad. However, there are much more efficient ways to reach audiences at scale,” Maguire said.
So while a Super Bowl ad might attract attention and have a broad reach, advertisers need a more comprehensive strategy and must carefully consider whether it’s worth it.