Maybe Super Bowl Ads Are Too Cheap

The price of a 30-second ad slot during the Super Bowl goes up every year. In 2012, ad time is going for $3,500,000 per spot, or $116,666.67 per second. But maybe everyone involved is looking at this wrong. Maybe the eyeballs of the nation and the free publicity that comes along with buying a slot during the game are worth more than that, and networks should truly let the market decide.

As part of a series on football for the NFL Network, the Freakonomics team examined the question and interviewed some important experts: sports business CNBC reporter Darren Rovell, Bob Parsons, CEO of regular Super Bowl advertiser GoDaddy, and the man who actually sold all of that ad time this year: Seth Winter, head of sales for NBC Sports.

The problem with the Super Bowl advertising market is that it isn’t a market at all. Markets are about supply and demand, and adjusting prices as those things shift. When these ads sell, it’s at a price set in advance, and they always sell out. What would a real auction look like?

Are Super Bowl Ads Too Cheap? [Freakonomics]