CBS “breaks even” on Super Bowl

Although US network CBS generated nearly $240 million in gross ad revenues from last week’s Super Bowl, after factoring in licence fees and production costs the event likely broke even or lost a little money for CBS according to SNL Kagan. However, the network can also generate higher ad dollars for the pre- and post-game programmes and the other shows that were promoted around the game.

While the majority of viewers still tune in to the TV, digital has begun to play a more important role in the game. CBS offered a live stream on, similar to NBC’s offering last year. NBC garnered some 2.1 million unique views online in 2012. While CBS has not yet released a figure for online viewing, data released by Sandvine indicates that legal viewing of the game accounted for 3 per cent of Internet traffic for the evening. In addition, some 24.1 million tweets were generated from the game and halftime show.

Thanks to the genre’s live nature and high viewership, sports remains an important component of the broadcast network schedule. Competition from both broadcast and cable networks has meant continuous jumps in pricing for sports rights. While broadcast networks have fewer sports than in the past, major-league deals have risen at a fast pace over the past couple of decades.

The Super Bowl charges the highest ad rate of any TV show, due in part to its being live and to the fact that many people tune in to the ads during the game. Don’t look for the rates going down any time soon, either — being both the highest-rated show of the year and a showcase where people pay attention to ads means that demand and pricing are likely to remain high.

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