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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ads for next year's Super Bowl LVI are nearly gone, NBC executives said Wednesday. Some of the most recently sold units went for $6.5 million — a new record.

Why it matters: Despite a decline in viewership, Super Bowl ads continue to become more expensive, given that the big game is the single-best opportunity for advertisers to reach a large amount of people at once.

  • The Super Bowl is typically the most-viewed TV broadcast event in the U.S. each year, although live TV viewership declines continue to impact its ratings.

Details: "We're writing 30% increases in pricing over up front, and we're likely to see that number rise with the limited inventory we have remaining for sale," NBC Sports Group Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales Dan Lovinger said at a press briefing.

  • CBS sold ads for last year's Super Bowl for about $5.5 million for 30-second spots.
  • Five months out from the event, Lovinger said NBC Sports likely has less than five available ad spots remaining. It's holding some units back just to make sure it has room for flexibility in the schedule if needed.
  • Ad inventory for the Super Bowl pregame show and inventory for the day of the Super Bowl "is also extremely well sold," he said.

Of note: Due to such high demand, NBC has also been asking some of the advertisers to match their ad spend with ads for other sports events on the network.

  • Lovinger said NBC doesn't plan on changing the number of commercials this year from previous years. It will be north of 70 ads, likely in the low-mid 80s.

What's next: Lovinger noted that next February will be an "unprecedented" opportunity for advertisers, as NBCUniversal will be airing the Super Bowl on a Sunday that overlaps with its broadcast of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

  • Despite the ratings pitfalls during the Summer Olympics due to the pandemic, he said, "we have not seen any significant drop-offs" in terms of advertisers for the Winter Games.
  • "I would say we're virtually sold out," Lovinger added.

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2021 - Technology

Facebook says Apple’s ad changes are hurting its business

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Wednesday that changes to Apple’s new privacy terms will continue to cause headwinds for its ads business in the third quarter.

Why it matters: Facebook doesn’t typically provide these types of updates outside of earnings calls. The update signals to investors that the company is seeing numbers in the current quarter that reinforce previous warnings about impact from Apple’s changes.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.