US Insights

Super Bowl LI: By the Numbers

Jon Swallen

Chief Research Officer, Kantar Media Intelligence North America

Brands 02.07.2017 / 10:30


Super Bowl LI was the second-most cluttered game ever.

Super Bowl LI proved to be a game for the ages, both on the field and in the advertising arena.

Measured from the opening kickoff to the final whistle in the overtime period, Super Bowl LI contained 51 minutes, 20 seconds of national commercials, the second-largest amount in history. 2013 holds the record at 51:40 mm:ss. The game itself lasted 3 hours, 47 minutes (including halftime) which means advertising accounted for 23 percent of the broadcast. By comparison, during the NFL regular season commercials accounted for 21 percent of an average game telecast.

Setting aside unpaid promotional spots from Fox and the NFL, the game featured a record-setting 41:30 minutes of air time from paying sponsors. The previous high was 41:00 minutes in 2014. Because the game went to overtime, Fox was able to insert an additional 2 minutes of paid messages, pushing and this pushed Super Bowl LI into the record books on yet another front.

Top Spenders

Excluding the promotional messages aired by Fox and the NFL, there were a total of 71 in-game spots aired by 57 different advertisers from 50 unique parent company owners. The difference in counts between advertisers and parent owners is due to some parents running commercials from more than one of the advertisers they own. (Example: Procter & Gamble accounted for three advertisers in the game – Febreze, Mr. Clean and Tide).

Anheuser-Busch InBev was the top parent company in the game as measured by ad time, with 3:30 minutes of messaging. Deutsche Telekom was in second place with 3 minutes of ad time for its T-Mobile brand. Procter & Gamble aired 2 minutes, 30 seconds spread across three different brands.

Top Categories

Despite a sharp reduction compared to previous years, auto manufacturers had the biggest presence of all ad categories in the game, accounting for eight spots and 7:00 minutes of ad time. Telecom was the second largest category with six units and 4:00 minutes of messages. Beer advertising, all from Anheuser Busch InBev, and movies were close behind. These four categories represented 44% of the total ad time from paying advertisers.

Auto, telecom, movies and beer are perennial top categories and Super Bowl viewers are accustomed to seeing lots of competing ads from them. But other smaller categories also had head-to-head rivals battling it out during the commercial breaks in Super Bowl LI.

  • Laundry Detergents – Tide vs. Persil
  • Streaming Video – Netflix vs. Hulu
  • Mobile Games – Mobile Strike vs. World of Tanks vs. Evony The King Returns
  • Restaurants – KFC vs. Wendy’s

Factory Auto Ads Fall

Auto manufacturers had their smallest footprint in the game since 2010. Seven different nameplates were promoted and total ad time was 7:00 mm:ss, down 2 full minutes from last year.

Acura, Hyundai, Jeep, Mini and Toyota did not return from their 2016 appearances. Their departures were partially offset by the addition of Alfa Romeo (which sponsored the halftime show), Lexus and Mercedes Benz.

As a comparison, from 2001 through 2010 the auto category averaged six spots and 3:45 of in-game ad time per year.

Automakers Lead the Way on Longer Commercials

Of the 71 in-game commercials from paying sponsors 14 were one minute or longer. That’s the fewest since 2011 when just 10 long-form ads appeared.

Auto manufacturers were again the most frequent users of long-form ads but at a lower rate than recent years. Auto accounted for 5 of the 14 long form ads (36%).

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

Kantar Media is a global leader in media intelligence, providing clients with the data they need to make informed decisions on all aspects of media measurement, monitoring and selection. Part of Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, Kantar Media provides the most comprehensive and accurate intelligence on media consumption, performance and value.
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