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It's too late to spend $4 million on Super Bowl ad time

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Send that armored car back to the bank. It's too late to spend that $4.5 million burning a hole in your pocket on 30 seconds of Super Bowl advertising time.

As of December 4, Fox's inventory of commercial time was all sold out, MediaDailyNews reports.

Not only that, but it sold out earlier than last year – and for even more than last year's record-high prices.

Earlier and costlier

According to Neil Mulcahy, evp of Fox Sports Sales, the game sold out a full month sooner than last year. "The demand for in-game advertising time for Super Bowl XLVIII is actually greater than the supply," he said, "which is a terrific problem for us to have."

Thanks to the law of supply and demand, the commercial time commanded higher prices than ever.

Super Bowl pricing has been estimated to have hit another record -- as high as $4.5 million for some 30-second commercials. For the previous Super Bowl, aired by CBS this past February, the high price was around $4 million for a 30-second commercial, with overall average pricing at around $3.8 million.

Big spenders

A typical Super Bowl broadcast has about 35 minutes of commercial air time – enough for a maximum of 70 30-second commercials. This coming February, some 43 advertisers will be filling it with :30s, :60s, and even two-minute spots.

Automotive, electronics, packaged goods and beverage brands are big buyers. These include Anheuser-Busch InBev, with exclusive rights to Super Bowl beer advertising; Butterfinger, introducing a new candy to compete with Reese's; Chevrolet, marking that brand's return to the Super Bowl; Doritos, with yet more crowd-sourced advertising; GoDaddy; Hyndai; Intuit; Jaguar; Mars; Oikos Greek yogurt, returning after a one-year hiatus; PepsiCo beverages; SodaStream; and another bizarre spot from those wild and wacky folks from Wonderful Pistachios.

A second chance?

If that $4.5 million is still burning a hole in your pocket, all is not lost.

Fox and its Fox Sports 1 cable network still have plenty of unsold pre-game time, when fewer people are watching.

Or, for a mere $174,000 or so, you can buy advertising time on one of Fox's digital platforms. That works out to a bargain cost of $60 per thousand viewers (CPM), only 50 percent more than the $40 television CPM.

What's more, you'll be getting a much smaller audience. This past February, 108.4 million viewers watched the game on CBS broadcast and cable, while 2.9 million watched online.

Where else can you find such a wonderful opportunity to spend more and get less?

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