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CBS sells out Super Bowl ads


The Big Game is five days away, but CBS executives already are dancing in the end zone.

On Monday, CBS executives said they had finished selling commercial time for the NFL championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Despite the weak economy, CBS is charging $2.5 million to more than $3 million for each 30-second spot, about the same price that NBC commanded a year ago.
 
Several first-time advertisers are in the lineup, including Kia Motors America, Qualcomm’s mobile television service Flo TV, video game maker Electronic Arts and the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family, which has a controversial antiabortion commercial with college football star Tim Tebow.

“This year we are going to call it the Controversy Bowl,” said Mike Sheldon, chief executive of the Los Angeles advertising firm Deutsch LA, which created Super Bowl spots this year for Volkswagen and Dr. Pepper Cherry.

“It used to be a championship football game, then it became an advertising showcase, and now the Super Bowl has turned into a microphone for special interests. It has become so much bigger than a football game,” Sheldon said.

CBS’ decision to accept the Tim Tbow advertisement dominated the pregame debate during the last week and a half. Liberal groups protested the network’s decision to accept an issue ad, a reversal of its previous policy. Last week, CBS rejected a commercial submitted by a gay-dating website, mancrunch.com.

More than $200 million will be spent on Super Bowl ads, including the pre- and post-game shows, according to industry analysts. Advertising in the Super Bowl increasingly has become a high-stakes sport, in large part because about 100 million people are expected to tune in Sunday, which would set a record.

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

-- Meg James

 
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