TV Advertising Prices – Football Rules!

We all know that advertising on television can be costly, but few people understand that the costs vary by time, show, viewer, and date. The most expensive advertising in the fall is NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” – for the second year in a row. A 30-second spot during the season is $593,000 to air, plus production costs! Closely following Sunday night football is “Monday Night Football” on ESPN with a cost between $325,000 to $400,000.

Why so costly? One reason is that football is one of the few programs that is watched live, meaning viewers are exposed to the advertising. However, cable programming is very competitive with broadcast prime-time shows; “The Walking Dead” costs for 30-seconds of advertising are anywhere from $200,000 – $400,000. And, for the important market of adults aged 18 – 49, “The Big Bang Theory” has an average cost of $316,912 with more than 18.3 million viewers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Before showing the costs, ask students to guess which shows and times are the most costly.

  2. How much do they think it costs to air a 30-second commercial?

  3. Ask students if they watch TV live, or if they record for later watching. Which shows do they watch live vs. record?

  4. Show Nielsen’s Top 10 chart:

  5. Divide students into teams and have team select a target market (i.e., males, females, Hispanics, teens, etc.). Then, for this target market, which shows offer the most visibility of advertising to this target. Why?

  6. Give each team a $5 million budget for advertising. How would they spend the money on television programming?

Source:  Ad Age Daily, Nielsen Research


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