Comcast stands to win big with Super Bowl coverage
The cable company will score major ad revenue as the Giants and Patriots vie for the NFL title.
The game, airing on Comcast's NBC TV network, will feature Eli Manning of the New York Giants and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots -- two of the game's most exciting quarterbacks, who also happen to play for two of the NFL's most storied and popular franchises.
A record audience will likely tune in to the championship game. Football has been a proven ratings winner for NBC, News Corp's (NWS), Walt Disney's (DIS) ESPN and CBS (CBS) for years, and regular-season games often set viewership records.
The big game will give Comcast a huge opportunity to promote the programs on its struggling TV network, along with the NBC Sports Network -- its answer to ESPN that debuted earlier this month. NBC last broadcast the Super Bowl in 2009.
Though baseball calls itself "America's pastime," pro football is the country's most-watched sport. The NFL, which has annual revenue of about $9 billion, is phenomenally profitable. In December, the NFL signed a nine-year contract extension with the networks that will enable it to generate about 60% more revenue. Robert Kraft's Patriots are valued by Forbes at $1.4 billion, the third-biggest in the league. Forbes estimates that the Giants, owned by the Tisch and Mara families, are the fourth-most-valuable pro football franchise, with a value of $1.3 billion.
According to published reports, 30-second spots on this year's Super Bowl are selling for $3.5 million, up from $2.9 million two years ago. Over the past 10 years, companies have spent about $1.72 billion getting their message out at the big game. As the Big Lead noted, the top five Super Bowl advertisers have spent $636.6 million on advertising over the past 10 years, accounting for 37% of total advertising revenue.
If the championship game lives up to its hype, advertisers will be willing to pay big bucks again next year to support America's most popular sport. Come to think of it, prices for ads will go up even if the game is a dud. The Super Bowl is that big.
Jonathan Berr is a frustrated fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.
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