CBS and the authorities at the Superdome in New Orleans will have hoards of furious advertisers calling for their heads Monday morning.
When power went out at half the stadium during the third quarter, with the Baltimore Ravens in a strong 28-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers, advertisers were already likely unhappy because the game was so lopsided its non-partisan audience was poised to stop paying attention.
But with zero action on the field, every neutral fan has now gone to the bathroom, gotten more food and drink, or started checking their phones and tablets for alternative forms of entertainment.
CBS initially seemed to attempt to stick to its regular ad break schedule, but now, more than 15 minutes into the partial blackout, the channel has realized it will run out of ads before it runs out of game if it continued with that plan. So the network has reverted to live reported coverage of the blackout.
It's certainly dramatic — and echoes the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when thousands huddled the darkness of the Superdome.
But it's lousy for advertisers.
It's not CBS' fault, of course, but it would be unsurprising if several companies tried to negotiate discounts on their ad buys starting Monday.
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