Advertisers Bet Brady-Rodgers in NFC Championship Is Must-See TV

Fox is getting more than $2 million a pop for 30-second in-game ads for Bucs-Packers

Advertisers Bet Brady-Rodgers in NFC Championship Is Must-See TV
Tom Brady talks with Aaron Rodgers at Gillette Stadium in 2018.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It won’t be airing on NBC, but Tom Brady taking on Aaron Rodgers on Sunday afternoon in a marquee matchup is shaping up to be must-see TV.

At least that’s what Fox executives, who are charging more than $2 million for 30-second advertisements during Sunday’s NFC Championship game between Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rodgers’s Green Bay Packers, appear to be thinking.

That price is a substantial jump from the initial unit cost of $1.75 million Fox was charging before it became apparent that the game would feature Brady and Rodgers facing off for just the fourth time in their Hall-of-Fame-worthy careers. (Brady has gone 2-1 against Rodgers thus far.)

The cost is also somewhat surprising considering the game is being played on Sunday afternoon, not in primetime, according to Sportico.

“In spending more for the early game, investors in a sense are thumbing their noses at American viewing habits and two decades of ratings data,” according to the publication. “The evening title tilt has out-delivered the afternoon game seven times in the last 10 years, and having established a 16-4 record going back to 2001, the later broadcast has put up the higher number 80% of the time. That said, recency bias may have emboldened some advertisers, as the afternoon game has been the bigger draw in three out of the last six doubleheaders.”

Based on past data, Fox has good reason to believe the rare matchup between Rodgers and Brady will attract plenty of eyeballs.

When the two faced off on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in Week 9 of the 2018 season, Packers-Patriots earned a 13.7 rating and 23.7 million viewers. New England’s win was the most-watched NFL telecast of the season up to that point and was also the most-viewed television program since the Academy Awards in March (26.5 million) and the most-watched sports program since the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in February of that year.

Brady-Rodgers may be a huge draw, but the cost of advertising during Sunday’s game still pales in comparison to what advertisers will be paying for airtime during the Super Bowl.

Many companies are paying CBS roughly $5.5 million for 30-second spots during the broadcast of the big game on February 7, according to The New York Times.

To advertise during Sunday’s late game, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes taking on Buffalo’s Josh Allen for the AFC Championship, CBS is selling in-game units for between $1.8 million and $1.9 million.

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