Focus on the Family buys Super Bowl ad

By Aaron Smith, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Focus on the Family, a Christian non-profit group, said it will air its first Super Bowl spot during the upcoming game.

The 30-second ad will feature Tim Tebow, a former quarterback with the University of Florida's Gators and 2007 winner of the Heisman Trophy, along with his mother Pam.

"Tim and Pam share our respect for life and our passion for helping families thrive," Jim Daly, president of Focus of the Family, said in a written statement on Jan. 15.

The Tebows decided to participate in the ad "because the issue of life is one they feel very strongly about," the Colorado-based organization said in a press release.

Focus on the Family is opposed to abortion "under all circumstances, except in the rare instance when the mother's life is threatened by continuing the pregnancy," according to the organization's web site.

The Web site for the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which is run by Tim Tebow's father, said that Pam has "a national platform to encourage the pro-life message," noting that she refused to abort Tim more than 20 years ago when she was advised to do so

Focus on the Family spokeswoman Lisa Anderson would not reveal how much her organization paid for the ad or provide further details about it. But she told CNNMoney.com that the funds were donated specifically for this purpose by unnamed individuals. She said the money did not come from the group's general fund.

CBS, broadcaster of the 2010 Super Bowl game, is charging about $3 million for 30-second spots, according to spokesman Dana McClintock. But CBS would not reveal how much it charged Focus on the Family for their ad.

Attempts to contact the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association in Jacksonville, Fla. were unsuccessful.

This would not be the first time an agenda-based ad has aired during the Super Bowl. The American Legacy Foundation ran anti-smoking ads during the 2001, 2002 and 2004 games, according to Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS Media Intelligence. He also said the Office for National Drug Control ran anti-drug ads in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Swallen said there is no evidence of anti-abortion ads in his Super Bowl records, which go back to 1982. The Super Bowl began in 1967.

Last year was a record high for Super Bowl viewer volume, according to The Nielsen Company, with 98.7 million people tuning in to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals.

The game will be played Feb. 7 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. To top of page

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