Cross-dressing Dafoe in Superbowl Sunday ad bonanza

Biggest event in US sports expected to be watched by record audience

From Willem Dafoe in drag to an unlikely Helen Mirren necking a Budwesier, this year’s edition of the Super Bowl - the biggest day in US sports - is proving something of a feeding frenzy for advertisers.

More than 40 big name brands have paid extravagant sums to advertise during Sunday's clash between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

The official broadcaster CBS is said to be charging advertisers as much as $5 million for 30-second spots during the ad breaks.

The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad has jumped 50 per cent in the last decade when adjusted for inflation, according to data provided by WPP’s Kantar Media.


Among the top companies already signed up are Budweiser, Amazon, Unilever, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Kia, Heinz and Volkswagen.

Last year's final in which the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks was the most watched single television program ever in the US, seen by a record 114.4 million viewers.

The season finale has generated $5.9 billion in inflation-adjusted ad spending since 1967.

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day.

Dips and spreads are the top choice of food to eat during the Super Bowl, followed by chicken wings, popcorn and pizza. Americans will consume an estimated 325.5 million gallons of beer on the day.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times