Michael Breit Discusses the Business of the Super Bowl on Yahoo!
EisnerAmper’s Michael Breit visited Yahoo! Finance to talk about the money behind the big game. Michael covered the skyrocketing costs of advertising, the potential commercial impact of recent NFL controversies, how social media platforms could revolutionize the viewing landscape and much more.
Alexis Christoforous: We’re four days out from the Super Bowl and this year more than 20 advertisers have shelled out over $5 million for a 30-second spot during the big game. But really, is it worth it? Joining me now is Michael Breit, Managing Partner and leader of the Sports and Entertainment Group for EisnerAmper. It’s great to have you here.
Michael Breit: Thank you, Alexis.
AC: This is the question I ask every year. That’s a lot of money for 30 seconds for an advertising spot. Do advertisers still get bang for their buck in the big game?
MB: I believe they do. When you’re reaching a mass audience of over 100 million people, it’s the last time you binge watch together, maybe as a family, or maybe 40, 50 people at a time. When you think about it, 50 years ago it was 50,000. Look where it’s up to now.
AC: That puts it in perspective.
MB: It does. When you’re looking to launch a product or get out to a mass audience, everyone still believes it’s a great way to get your message out.
AC: Now this year in particular we know the NFL has been dogged with controversy: the concussion talk, the national anthem and the kneeling controversy. Is any of that going to put a dent in ratings, and will that affect advertisers?
MB: In my opinion, it won’t. We have two large market DNAs in regard to Philadelphia and Boston. It’s going to attract a very, very large audience. I might not feel the same way about Jacksonville, but because of the large markets and because these teams have great histories behind them, I think it’s going to attract a lot of viewers.
AC: Now what’s different about these most recent Super Bowls, and especially this year, is the online presence. So there was a recent survey I saw, they surveyed 1,000 people, and about half said they’re going to be watching those Super Bowl ads online. So tell me how important social media and online is for the advertisers.
MB: It is incredibly important, and the viewing habits are changing dramatically. We’re seeing incredible disruption with respect to how people watch the Super Bowl and what is discussed socially. So, not only the NFL, but all of the leagues are talking about how to be more social, more mobile, more digital. And it will affect, obviously, the NFL. The NFL has a lot of deals now for streaming. So the way we’re going to watch Super Bowls now and in the future – I will guarantee you – will change.
AC: Is that going to affect the pricing?
MB: Pricing may affect them. Right now you do see the pricing is still great because right now NBC commands that kind of pricing and they have the Olympics, and that’s a great forerunner before that as well. So they’re putting that into play as well in the sales game. But I think in time we’ll see a change. Not this year, but I would say in a few years we’ll see a change.
AC: Alright. Now look, a lot of familiar brands this year – Budweiser – sort of like a mainstay, right? Amazon is back. Doritos, which was not there last year, is back. I’m just curious which ads you’re excited about?
MB: I’m excited about the ads that move me, and I guess I’m partial to the Budweiser Clydesdale horse ads. I always thought they were terrific.
AC: It’s a classic.
MB: And I understand that the Budweiser ads this year are going to be really terrific and very, very moving, very sentimental. So I think that’s what gets to people’s hearts, and I think those are the ones that are most impactful.
AC: Do you think those, or is it sort of the funny ads – the ones that illicit the laughter?
MB: I love the funny ads as well. For me, it’s the moving ads. But I think all of the ads – they have a certain spark to them and they’re extraordinarily creative.
AC: And a lot of the time ads bring celebrities into it all. I actually interviewed Matt Damon recently because he’s partnered with Stella Artois for his water.org foundation. But do think that that works for advertisers generally? Sometimes that can backfire – having a celebrity in your ad.
MB: It can. I think that if you have a great story and a great message behind the ad, the celebrity, it could work. I’d rather have the great message first and then the celebrity second.
AC: You’re a softy, you like the moving ads.