Jets Loss Stings WABC-TV
Station could have sold local Super Bowl spots at big premium
By Steve McClellan -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/19/2003 7:00:00 PM
It was a sad day in New York on Jan. 12 when the hometown Jets lost to the Oakland Raiders in the NFL playoffs. And nobody was sadder than the sales folks at WABC-TV. Market sources say the station probably could have charged $100,000 more for each local spot had the Jets gotten to the Super Bowl, which airs on ABC on Jan. 26. Local stations get roughly 15 spots to sell in the game.
|Sampling of Ad Players in the Big Game|
|General Motors||GM MediaWorks|
|AT&T Wireless||Media Edge|
|20th Century Fox||MindShare|
|Warner Bros.||Grey Advertising|
|Sony Electronics||McCann Erickson|
On the other coast, of course, the sales gang at co-owned KGO-TV San Francisco, was giddy with delight at the thumping the Raiders gave the Jets (30-10). If the Raiders go the Super Bowl, KGO-TV will be on the receiving end of that premium.
But don't feel too bad for WABC-TV or the ABC group. They're doing just fine with the Super Bowl.
Indeed, sources say the New York station will have close to a $10 million day on Jan. 26, while the group will generate somewhere between $50 million and $60 million.
Even without the home team in the game, big-market affiliates and owned-and-operated stations get a huge premium from advertisers—as much as 500% over a regular-season football game, according to sources familiar with the rates.
"The premium is astronomical," says the general manager at one station. "The rating is going to be at least double the typical game, but the premium is maybe 500%. It's a nice thing to have."
And ads within the game have taken on a unique aura in recent years, executives say. "It's become such a showcase for advertisers," said one ad buyer. "I mean, viewers actually look forward to seeing some of the new spots that are hyped up beforehand in the press. So some advertisers just decide they've got to be there and don't care what the price is."
Most of the advertisers that buy the network time also buy up the local time, such as Anheuser Busch, AT&T Wireless, the auto companies, credit cards and movie studios, among others.
Not all TV markets get the big premium for the game that stations in the top 10 or 20 markets do, says Pete Stassi, senior vice president, local broadcast director at PHD, a division of BBDO. "We've even had stations willing to package whatever it took to sell it. I can only talk for our agency, but it doesn't look like it's jumping off the page too quickly."
Stassi's shop bought early at rates that had little if any premium attached. "If you bought it early in a market that's not a contender, like a Syracuse or a Rochester rather than a Boson or New York," he explains, "you could get some pretty good rates."
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