Selling Super Bowl LV

Selling Super Bowl LV: A Conversation with Our Local CBS Rep

Football’s biggest game has some big changes in store after a year like no other. In 2021, a 30-second commercial timeslot for Super Bowl LV will run you $5.5 million – for the broadcast only. If you want to be included in the online livestream, that’s an extra $300,000.

To get an inside scoop on the action, I spoke with our friends at WTSP (CBS’ local Tampa Bay affiliate). Below are highlights from the conversation with Account Executive Peter Roghaar.


Matt: What do you foresee as the tone of ad messaging during this year’s game?

Peter: National advertisers such as Budweiser, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Hyundai, Ford, Little Caesars and Avocados from Mexico are not running ads in Super Bowl 55, although Pepsi is still the sponsor of the halftime show. Humor is always such a big part of Super Bowl spots, but with a pandemic, record unemployment and recent political unrest, I think you will see most brands playing it safe. It is certainly a tough assignment for creative agencies to get it right this year.


Matt: Due to the pandemic, what shift(s) in advertising will be the most notable?

Peter: Sponsorships and advertising on site at NFL events during Super Bowl week may be cut back since some events are virtual now. In-stadium ad deals may be “right sized” since attendance is now limited to 22,000.  There will be less “out of home” viewing and large gatherings at bars and restaurants and more people staying at home to watch.


Matt: Compared to last year, how have the ratings projections changed? Has there any significant growth or loss with any specific demo?

Peter: This is the first time in NFL history a team will be playing the Super Bowl on its home field. 2020 game (KC vs San Fran) on WTVT/FOX in Tampa had a 43.7 rating for adults 24 to 54 years old. We are estimating a 54 A25-54 rating on WTSP/CBS for this year’s game with Bucs vs Chiefs – a 20% increase!


Matt: Have you sold out of National and Local spot inventory yet?

Peter: WTSP’s local inventory on Super Bowl Sunday is sold out. In fact, we sold out prior to the Bucs winning this past weekend. This includes the pregame shows from 12p-6p, the spots in the game, postgame and the CBS debut of “The Equalizer” that follows the game.  With the game in Tampa, we began discussions with clients the Monday after Super Bowl 54 a year ago.


Matt: With “in bowl” (in stadium) and pre-event advertising ops limited, will we see new ad units or integrations this year?

Peter: On TV, the :30 ad length during Super Bowl programming remains the most popular. We have a few :15s airing and one :05 package of spots.


Matt: Do you have any recommendations or advice for businesses that want to take part of any super bowl promotions, or opportunities?

Peter: Plan and budget far ahead and commit early. Prices will only increase as the game draws closer.   In a world with hundreds of viewing options and fragmented audiences, the Super Bowl remains the largest reach opportunity in TV advertising.  And brands often get a “halo effect” from being associated with the game. Viewers think the company must be good, trustworthy and are more apt to engage with the company simply because they are in the Super Bowl.

Matt: On a local level, what advertisers might we see?

Peter: You’ll have to watch the game and see!


Interested in more Super Bowl ad commentary? Make sure to follow #CRSuperBowl on Game Day for all of the hot takes during advertising’s biggest night.