CBS sees early Super Bowl advertising sellout

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The timing of Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl advertisement appears to coincide with a banner year for CBS Corp. and its affiliates.

In anticipation of this weekend’s Super Bowl, network executives reported this week that the network had sold out all available commercial slots a full six days in advance of the big day – a rarity, based on the media event’s sales history.

A Bloomberg.com story this week said that Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl commercial for Focus on the Family, along with first-time advertisements from a dozen other marketers, helped CBS increase sales from the game as Priceline.com Inc. and Toyota Motor Co. opted out. In addition, new advertisers Electronic Arts Inc. , Qualcomm Inc. and truTV will join the Colorado Springs faith-based group and long-time Super Bowl marketer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV , the biggest sponsor, to push sales past the $206 million NBC reported last year.

News of the sellout might indicate that the advertising market is recovering, said Andy Donchin, director of media for New York-based advertising agency Carat, whose clients include Papa John’s International Inc., the pizza chain based in Louisville, Kentucky.

This year’s match-up between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts appears to be a winner for all involved, boosting prices for some 30-second spots to more than $3 million.

“In previous match-ups, networks had ads to sell until the weekend of the game.  It’s rare to wrap up Super Bowl sales six days before the game,” Donchin said in an interview.

Building on record audiences for last month’s playoffs, the National Football League championship could attract 100 million viewers, said Jo Ann Ross, head of CBS advertising sales, topping last year’s record 98.7 million.