Super Bowl ads are selling out

CBS has sold almost 90% of its 30-second commercial sports for the big game, but ad prices haven't topped last season's charges yet.

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By Hibah Yousuf, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Plummeting advertising sales have severely wounded media companies, but CBS is scoring big with the broadcast of this season's Super Bowl XLIV.

Months away from the biggest football game of the year, CBS (CBS, Fortune 500) is already nearing a 90% sellout for advertising spots during the game. The network expects to close enough deals to hit that mark before Thanksgiving, said John Bogusz, CBS's vice president of sports sales and marketing.

CBS hasn't yet topped the $3 million rival NBC charged for each 30-second spot during the 2009 telecast, according to reports.

So far, CBS's sales have hovered in the range of $2.5 and $3 million per spot. But with more than two months to go before kickoff, CBS still has time to reel in the big buyers.

Networks typically sell 62 commercials of 30 seconds each for the game. That math means CBS only has a half-dozen or so spots left to sell for the game that airs Feb. 7, 2010. Anheauser-Busch (BUD), Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), PepsiCo (PEP, Fortune 500), and several movie studios and car companies have reportedly already purchased their ad packages for the 2010 game.

For last season's big match, NBC didn't reach the 90% benchmark for sales until January, just a month ahead of the telecast.

Bogusz said the pace of sales is ahead of that for the 2007 Super Bowl telecast, the last time CBS televised the event. A majority of the remaining slots are in the second half of the game, he said.

Super Bowl sales can pay off big for the broadcasters that air the game. In 2007, CBS said some advertisers paid more than $2.6 million for their 30-second commercials. The network's advertising revenue jumped 9% in the first quarter that year thanks to its telecasts of the Super Bowl and the semifinals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. To top of page

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