While the NFL celebrates its 50th Super Bowl, John Bogusz is marking his fifth Super Bowl as head of sports sales at CBS.
Last year’s game on NBC set viewership records. Always TV’s biggest-ticket item, this year’s Super Bowl is nearly sold out, with some spots fetching more than $5 million, up from an average of $4.4 million in 2015 when NBC raked in $345.4 million during the big game, according to Kantar Media.
A University of Dayton alum who earned his MBA from Fordham, Boguz joined CBS as senior VP daytime sales in 1998. He and his colleagues are coming off an all-star year selling NFL and college football, college basketball including the NCAA tournament, and golf.
Bogusz and his wife, Amy, have three children: John Michael, who is in the business at Discovery; Emilie, 20, who attends Wake Forest; and Harry, 17, a high school senior headed for the University of Miami.
An edited version of Bogusz’ conversation with B&C business editor Jon Lafayette follows.
What’s the best part of selling the Super Bowl?
The best part is there’s no event that has as high a profile and as many eyes on it as a Super Bowl. From what we do for a living in terms of working with marketers to get out their commercial message, there’s no better platform that reaches as many people in a terrific environment as the Super Bowl. As the media marketplace continues to fragment, it becomes that much more important.
How has your pitch changed this year?
The pitch this year is a little bit different because we did sell the digital piece with the TV piece in conjunction. It was packaged together, both the online with the TV, and everyone who’s in the game also has their online presence as well. You will see every pregame hour presented by a sponsor. We do a mini-halftime report sponsored by Chrysler. Pepsi is the sponsor of the halftime show, which is sold through the NFL.
If I called now and said I wanted to buy a Super Bowl spot, what would you tell me?
I’d say we’d love to have you in the game. We have a couple of positions available, you’d have to buy the stream along with it. And we’d like to know what other spending you have that we could package along with it to get a deal done. As of right now we have basically a couple of avails left in the game. Until those two are sold, we can accommodate you. They could go at any minute. We are in some conversations. We are obviously extremely well-sold.
Where will you be during the Super Bowl?
During the game I actually [will be] in our CBS sales suite at Levi’s Stadium with some of our fine clients. I’ve been in the sales suite with our advertisers in years past for the game. I have a direct line to the truck, should we have any particular issues that arise. Usually everyone’s into the game, but we’ve had some interesting times in the suite. For instance, the last game [on CBS, 2013 in New Orleans] when the lights went out. That was a testy 20 minutes. Our clients were terrific, quite frankly. We had ongoing conversations with the truck and fortunately the lights came back on when they did. [So far in this year’s negotiations,] that has not come up. Hopefully we won’t have any of those issues.
What’s your best-case scenario?
We would like the game to be within a one-score game through the fourth quarter. And if it went into overtime, that would be the best-case scenario. [In terms of ad sales,] overtime has been allocated for.