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How Much Does a Super Bowl Commercial Cost?

The Super Bowl is perhaps the only thing that can make segments of the American public actually look forward to watching advertisements. So brands act accordingly, pulling out their most elaborate narratives and wacky gimmicks in any desperate attempt to go viral. 

And it shows with how costly a Super Bowl commercial spot has become. 

For Super Bowl I, a cost for a commercial was $37,500, or about $292,903 today, according to AdAge. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had around 35,000 empty seats that day. 

As Super Bowl viewership has continued to rise, so have commercial prices. More eyeballs, of course, yield a more valuable advertisement. Super Bowls constitute 19 of the top 20 most watched television broadcasts in American history.

The cost of a 30-second spot surpassed $100,000 in 1973, according to AdAge. By 1995, the cost of a commercial was over $1 million. By 2000, $2 million. By 2011, it cracked $3 million, and by 2015 the fee was more than $4 million.

For Super Bowl LIV, the cost of a commercial is $5.6 million, almost double the cost in 2011.

Even adjusted for inflation, that's about six times as much as it was in 1984, three times as much as it was in 1995 and two times as much as it was in 2000. 

Below is the list of the approximate average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad for select years, with the amount adjusted for inflation in parenthesis:

1967: $37,500 ($292,903, in Dec. 2019 dollars)

1985: $525,000 ($1,278,781) 

2000: $2,100,000 ($3,196,951)

2006: $2,500,000 ($3,233,190)

2009: $2,999,960 ($3,633,069)

2011: $3,100,000 ($3,599,580)

2014: $4,000,000 ($4,378,106)

2015: $4,500,000 ($4,926,607)

2016: $5,000,000 ($5,418,854)

2017: $5,200,000 ($5,485,420)

2018: $5,000,000 ($5,160,307)

2019: $5,300,000 ($5,388,020)

2020: $5,600,000