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The National Football League remains the hottest ticket in town for TV advertisers, as inventory in the sport’s coast-to-coast broadcast packages is once again out-pricing just about everything else on the tube.
According to media buyers who regularly steer clients to NFL broadcasts, the priciest slice of prime-time real estate is once again a 30-second spot in NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” Marketers looking to hitch their wagon to NBC’s weekly juggernaut are paying on the order of $665,375 per unit, with late scatter buys from the likes of movie studios and telco brands pacing well over the $700,000 mark.
Last year, the average cost for a 30-second commercial in “Sunday Night Football” was a little over $625,000.
While the sums commanded by NBC at first blush may seem extravagant — for what it’s worth, the cost per :30 is almost exactly 13 times the U.S. median household income — it’s not as if advertisers are throwing their money down a rat hole. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, “Sunday Night Football” in 2014 was the most-watched, top-rated program in prime time, averaging 21.3 million viewers and a 12.4 household rating.
By way of comparison, America’s No. 2 TV sports league, the National Basketball Association, averaged a 2.2 household rating over the course of its 15 regular-season broadcasts last season on ABC. NBC’s in-season NFL package also outstripped a host of series with championship implications, including the seven-game 2014 World Series (8.3 HH rating), last June’s NBA Finals (11.6) and Team USA’s victorious title tilt in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final (11.4).