Super Bowl Ads Climb to $2M Apiece

Some Internet companies are paying more to advertise on January’s Super Bowl
broadcast than they have generated in revenue, helping to push the average
commercial price to a record of about $2 million.

Dot com advertisers, estimated by industry observers to have bought about 20
percent of the available commercials during the Super Bowl, want to use the
game as “a showpiece for their Internet address and to say to the world that
we are playing with the big boys,” Bill Croasdale, a commercial buyer at
Western Initiative Media, told the Associated Press., which matches
entrepreneurs with capital, is paying $2 million for Super Bowl exposure with
money it raised from European and Asian investors., a five-month-old company
with less than $500,000 in revenue, is spending about $3 million for an
advertising package during the game on Jan. 30 on ABC television.

“If I had to spend 10 times that amount, I could still probably rationalize
the return,” Michael Zapolin, chief executive and a co-founder of, told the AP.

As many as a dozen dot com advertisers are expected to rub shoulders with
Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi-Cola, Federal Express, Visa and other longtime Super
Bowl advertisers on the Jan. 30, 2000 telecast on ABC.

Marvin Goldsmith, ABC’s head of sales and marketing, declined to comment on
the prices but said a strong economy and advertisers’ renewed appreciation of
broadcast TV’s ability to reach a huge audience have helped sales.

“We have not generated a dime yet,” conceded Ethan Russman, marketing
director of, which is paying $2 million for Super Bowl exposure
with startup money.

Russman compared’s recently launched Web site to a dating
service’ that matches entrepreneurs with investors looking for new business
concepts. He said the exposure from the ads should build credibility and
trust for the company.

Another new Super Bowl sponsor is, an online stationery
superstore that specializes in wedding invitations, birth announcements and
notices of other significant life events.

The company, founded in March, expects to generate less than $1 million in
revenue for its first year, according to chief executive and founder Michael

But he said it is spending $3.5 million to $4 million for a Super Bowl
package that includes one commercial in the game, four ads before the game
and an exclusive sponsorship of a 30-minute pregame program. and are back for this January’s
Super Bowl.

Other dot-com advertisers currently on board for this Super Bowl
include, which has been selling pet supplies
online for about a year;, a job service aimed mainly at
professionals that has been online for about five months; and, which organizes
editorial content for Web site operators.

E*Trade Group, the online brokerage, is
sponsoring the half-time show and has purchased several ads in the game and
pregame shows.

Oxygen Media, a company that offers
information online and is launching a cable TV network, bought a Super Bowl
commercial in what will be a rare appearance in the game for an advertiser
targeting women.

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