The Super Bowl. It’s one of the most watched television broadcasts in the United States. It attracts anywhere from 90 million to 114 million viewers every year. Gary Vee calls Super Bowl ads under priced in today’s market even with their exorbitant cost of a few million dollars.

But do Super Bowl Ads really need to cost a few million dollars? No, here’s how to get them at a discount.

Getting a Super Bowl Ad at Discount

To be clear a national Super Bowl ad will cost you a few million dollars. But what TV salespeople don’t want you to know is that you can buy Super Bowl ads that will only air in local television markets.

1 – Find a DMA with under 500,000 people

So, the first thing you want to do is find a designated market area (DMA) with under 500,000 people. You won’t get the entire country watching your ad, but you will get nearly everyone in a local market to see your ad. A few hundred thousand people will see your commercial alongside national advertising heavy hitters like Doritos, Geico, and Pepsi. This is a huge opportunity especially if your business gets a lot of sales locally within your chosen DMA. Nielson publishes DMA rankings yearly.

2 – Find out which network will broadcast the upcoming Super Bowl

The next thing you want to do is find out the network that has broadcasting rights to the upcoming Super Bowl. It’ll be either NBC, CBS, Fox, or ABC. The networks usually switch around rights each year. In 2019 the broadcaster was CBS. Fox will be the broadcaster in for 2020. Wikipedia has a nice list of past and future Super Bowl broadcasters.

3 – Connect with the broadcaster’s local affiliate station

For this example let’s use the DMA of Spokane, Washington which has about 382,000 people. Using a quick google search we can see that the Fox affiliate for Spokane is KAYU Fox 28. Hypothetically, an advertiser could visit their website and find the stations salespeople’s contact information on the Advertise With Us page. You could reach out to them via telephone or email.

Usually, if you send an email, someone will end up calling you anyway. It’s a good idea to have a brief summary of what you’re trying to accomplish. Something along the lines of the following usually works:

Hello {Sales People’s Names},

I support the advertising for {Company Name}. We’re looking to do some television marketing to promote an upcoming {product/brand} campaign. We’re looking to show ads on {AM/MidDay/PM/LateNight} daypart(s). Could you please send over some pricing information to help us plan our campaign.

ProTip: Include an official looking email signature that hypes up your position and include a company logo to make your email look professional.

A great time to send this is early January about 1 month before the super bowl.

4 – Inquire about Super Bowl ads a week or two before the game

Sales people from the station will aggressively pitch you after you reach out, you’ll want to maintain your cool and not bite at any offers. Between 2 to 1 weeks before the Super Bowl, get a hold of the station’s sales representative and inquire about Super Bowl ads. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the station reach out to you.

Remnant Inventory

What you’re looking for here is called remnant inventory. This is advertising space that a station has not been able to sell. The station’s options are:

  1. Leave space unfilled, run no commercial, and make no advertising revenue for the airtime
  2. Run a commercial for free for one of their existing advertisers
  3. Provide a big discount on airtime to get more advertisers interested and make some revenue

Usually you can get a discount around 40% if a station is trying to fill empty commercial space.

Let’s say a local Super Bowl commercial would cost $14,000. When a station is desperate to sell you can scoop it up for around $8,400.


So there you have it, a method for getting a Super Bowl commercial for under 10 grand. This technique can work great for local businesses looking to get a single ad within their primary DMA or large brands that want to get a few local superbowl spots in DMA’s spread out around the country.

Getting a sweet discount on a Super Bowl ad is great, but you’ll likely want digital marketing and online advertisements to strengthen your marketing campaigns. If you’d like help with digital marketing or social media ads (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) learn more about our services and apply to work with us today. Best of luck out there.