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ViacomCBS sets rate of nearly $5.5 Million for 30-Second Super Bowl ad

Super Bowl LV is scheduled to air on CBS this winter and the company is looking for record-breaking ad rates. Advertisers on the other hand, are seeking assurances that they'll get their money back if COVID-19 impacts the big game.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: All right, a lot of companies will have to pay up big time to get a mere 30-second ad in next year's Super Bowl. ViacomCBS is reportedly asking for $5 and 1/2 million per 30-second spot. Yahoo Finance's Sibile Marcellus joins us now. Sibile, how does this compare to last year?

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Hey, Brian. So it's pretty similar and pretty much in line with prices for ads during the Super Bowl that we saw in February of this year. It's hard to even remember that Super Bowl, given the coronavirus pandemic that we've all been through. But it really was a cash cow for Fox.

If you look at the numbers, the Super Bowl in 2020, it drew 102 million viewers. And it attracted, in terms of revenue for Fox, half a billion dollars. So we're talking about $525 million.

So what ViacomCBS is trying to do now is that come February 2021, they want to make that kind of money-- desperately needed. We know a lot of networks have been hit in terms of advertising because of the coronavirus pandemic. So it's not surprising that ViacomCBS wants to charge pretty much the same price tag, $5.5 million for a 30-second ad.

And on top of that, CBS wants to require advertisers to also pay to appear on their streaming service. So they're trying to boost that while they're showing the Super Bowl. And they want those advertisers to pay an additional $200,000.

But here's the thing-- advertisers are saying hold up, wait a second, if we're going to put that much money down for ads, we want assurances that if the Super Bowl is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, we're going to get our money back. As we know, many companies have had to cut their advertising budget because of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. So it's a very challenging situation right now. And we'll see what happens.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What kinds of protections are they looking for? I mean, are they thinking what happens if, worst-case scenario, there is no Super Bowl because there is a spike in coronavirus cases among players? Can you give us a feel for what it is they're asking for?

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Yeah, so the details haven't been completely ironed out in terms of what types of protections advertisers will get when they purchase ads for ViacomCBS. But, of course, they're just trying to protect their own money, spending millions of dollars on the Super Bowl. They want to make sure that if the NFL ends up having to cancel the big game because of the coronavirus pandemic, they won't be left out in the cold with a huge multi-million dollar gap in their budget.

BRIAN SOZZI: Sibile, does it make any financial sense for a company to pay that much money during a pandemic to advertise for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl? Why not take that money give workers who are busting their tail off all year a raise?

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Brian, that's a great question. Workers at those companies have been working really hard. Many of them have been social distancing, working remotely. Some have kids at home. They would definitely benefit from a raise.

But here's the thing about the Super Bowl-- it's one of the few options to get a mass audience. So you get a lot of bang for your buck. So a lot of companies and advertisers realize that. So they still do the Super Bowl as being key. If they're going to make one big spend on advertising and hopefully get consumers to buy their products, it's going to be at the Super Bowl. So they're likely still going to want to spend those millions of dollars on ads on that platform.