Super Bowl stats: Ad spend drops for second year running

Feb 6, 2019 | Content marketing, Online advertising, Online video, Viral and buyrals

The 2019 Super Bowl saw an estimated $382 million of spend – coming third after the 2017 and 2018 games, with car makers being the biggest investors, according to new research.

The stats, from Kantar Media indicated the following:

  • The 2019 Super Bowl saw an estimated $382 million of spend – coming third after the 2017 and 2018 games
  • There was a total of 49 minutes, 45 seconds of advertising during the Super Bowl, with ads accounting for 23% of the total broadcast
  • The top advertiser was beverage manufacturer Anheuser Busch In Bev, with Amazon coming second. Google was third, alongside Deutsche Telekom and Toyota Motor
  • The leading category was car manufacturers – making up an estimated $66 million of spend


Super Bowl LIII – The Numbers

Kantar Media’s preliminary estimate of in-game ad expenditures for Super Bowl LIII, subject to revision, is $382 million. This would be the third largest amount in history, trailing only the 2017 and 2018 games. 

  • There was a total of 49 minutes, 45 seconds of national commercial time from paying sponsors, the NFL and CBS-owned networks. This matches the third highest total on record. Ads accounted for 23% of the total broadcast. 
  • Anheuser Busch InBev was the top marketer in the game, spending an estimated $59 million. Its purchase of 5:45 mm:ss of ad time was its largest Super Bowl buy in more than 25 years. Amazon was the runner up at $25 million followed by Google, Deutsche Telekom and Toyota Motor, each spending an estimated $20 million. 
  • Auto manufacturers were the leading category during the game, accounting for an estimated $66 million of spending and 6:30 mm:ss of commercial time. However, it was the category’s smallest presence in the Super Bowl game since 2010.

Over $380 Million of Ad Revenue

Final confirmation of ad pricing and revenue figures for Super Bowl LIII are not yet available, but Kantar Media’s preliminary estimate of total ad spending from in-game spots is $382 million.

When expenditures from pre-game and post-game programming are tabulated and included, the total revenue for the event should surpass $450 million.

Super Bowl In-Game Ad Revenue
(in millions)
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (prelim estimate)
$345 $370 $419 $408 $382

Source: Kantar Media

More Than 49 Minutes of Ad Time

Measured from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, Super Bowl LIII contained 49 minutes, 45 seconds (49:45 mm:ss) of national commercials, the third largest amount in history. The game itself lasted 3 hours, 32 minutes (including halftime) which means advertising accounted for 23 percent of the broadcast. By comparison the length of a typical NFL regular season telecast is 187 minutes with commercials accounting for 42 minutes (22 percent) of the program.

Excluding unpaid promotional spots from CBS and the NFL, the game featured 37:25 mm:ss of national air time from paying sponsors which is the least amount since 2010. Meanwhile, network promos reached 9:55 mm:ss, the second highest volume in history

Network Ad Time (mm:ss)
In the Super Bowl Game
Total Ad Time  
Brand Ads
NFL Promos/PSA Network Promos
2019 49:45 37:25 2:45 9:55
2018 51:20 39:40 2:00 9:40
2017 51:30 42:00 2:00 7:30
2016 49:35 39:45 1:30 8:20
2015 48:05 39:45 1:30 6:50
Source: Kantar Media

Top Spenders

Excluding the promotional messages aired by CBS and the NFL, there were a total of 57 in-game spots aired by 45 different advertisers and 38 unique parent company owners. The difference in counts between advertisers and parent owners is due to some parents showing commercials from more than one of the advertisers they own. (Example: Pepsico accounted for three advertisers in the game – Bubly, Doritos and Pepsi)

Anheuser Busch InBev was the top-spending company in the game and invested an estimated $59 million to purchase 5:45 mm:ss of air time. The runner up was which spent an estimated $25 million to run 2:30 mm:ss of messages.

Top Parent Companies in the 2019 Super Bowl Game
Parent Company Estimated Spend (Millions) Ad Time (mm:ss
Anheuser Busch In Bev $59 5:45 $25 2:30
Alphabet $20 2:00
Deutsche Telekom $20 2:00
Toyota Motor $20 2:00
Source: Kantar Media

Rookie Advertisers in the Super Bowl

From 2009-2018 the Super Bowl attracted an average of eight first-time advertisers per year, many of them relatively small companies that viewed the game as a platform to increase brand awareness. The rookie turnout at Super Bowl LIII was a bit smaller with six players.

First-Time Parent Companies In The Super Bowl
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
All Parent Companies (#) 39 43 49 37 38
First-Time Parents (#) 11 10 11 3 6
First-Time Parents (%) 28% 23% 22% 8% 16%
Source: Kantar Media

The 2019 freshman roster included ADT, Bumble, Expensify, Mint Mobile, SimpliSafe and the Washington Post.

35 Percent of 2018 Sponsors Did Not Return in 2019

Of the 37 parent companies with messages in the 2018 game,13 were absent this year for an attrition rate of 35%. The average attrition rate for the previous ten Super Bowls (2009-2018) was 45%. The most notable dropouts this year were Coca-Cola and Fiat Chrysler.

None of the three companies that were first-time participants in 2018 returned this year.

Longer Length Commercials – Holding Steady

Long-form ads had a significant presence in Super Bowl LIII. Of the 57 in-game commercials from paying sponsors, 16 were one minute or longer.

Paid Ads Of 60+ Seconds In The Super Bowl*
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Total # 21 16 14 19 16
% of All Brand Ads 38% 26% 19% 31% 28%
* Note: Network promotions, public service announcements and NFL ads are excluded from these calculations
Source:  Kantar Media

Auto manufacturers were again the most frequent users of long-length spots. Each of the six messages aired by an auto maker was either 60 or 90 seconds in length.

Auto’s Share of 60+ Second Ad Lengths
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
All 60+ Second Ads 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Auto Category 43% 38% 36% 37% 38%
* Note: Network promotions, public service announcements and NFL ads are excluded from these calculations
Source:  Kantar Media

Top Categories

For the tenth consecutive year auto manufacturers had the biggest presence of all ad categories in the game, accounting for 6:30 mm:ss of ad time and an estimated $66 million of expenditures. Beer advertising, all from Anheuser Busch InBev, was the second-largest category with $54 million and 5:15 mm:ss of messages. (In addition to its beer ads, the company also aired a commercial for its Bon & Viv spiked seltzer product.) Telecom finished in third place at $46 million and 4:30 mm:ss. These three categories represented over 40% of the total commercial time from paying advertisers.

Leading Ad Categories In The 2019 Super Bowl
# of Parent Companies  
Estimated Ad Spend (millions)
Ad Time (mm:ss)
Auto Manufacturers 5 $66 6:30
Beer 1 $54 5:15
Telecom 4 $46 4:30
Source: Kantar Media

Auto, beer, and telecom are perennial top categories and Super Bowl viewers are accustomed to seeing lots of competing ads from them. But other categories also had rival brands battling it out during the commercial breaks in Super Bowl LIII. Some notable examples:

  • Streaming Video Services – Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix
  • Snack Foods – Doritos, M&Ms, Planters, Pringles
  • Home Security Systems – ADT, SimpliSafe

Factory Auto Ads: A Closer Look

Automakers had a reduced presence compared to recent years. There were just six spots from five different nameplates, the smallest counts since 2009. The amount of ad time (6:30 mm:ss) was the least since 2010.

The Jeep, Lexus and Ram nameplates did not return from their 2018 appearances. Offsetting these departures was the addition of Mercedes Benz.

From 2015 through 2018 the auto category averaged 9:00 mm:ss of messages. As a comparison, from 2001 through 2010 automakers averaged 3:45 mm:ss of in-game ad time per year.

Auto Manufacturer Advertising in The Super Bowl
Year # of Ad Units Total Ad Time (mm:ss) # Unique Parent Companies # Unique Name-plates
2019 6 6:30 4 5
2018 11 9:00 4 6
2017 9 7:00 7 7
2016 11 9:00 8 9
2015 11 11:00 6 9
Source: Kantar Media

Source: Kantar Media

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