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Inside the Super Bowl’s disastrous TV ratings

Here’s a Super Bowl bet that didn’t pay off: ponying up more than $5 million for one of the NFL’s 30-second TV spots.

The big game’s TV ratings on Sunday slid to their lowest point in a decade, queuing up advertisers like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Pepsi, T-Mobile and Hulu for possible buyer’s remorse.

The Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII was not only the lowest-rated title game in 10 years, but also the lowest-scoring ever.

The matchup broadcast on CBS nabbed a 44.9 rating, according to the Sports Business Journal, declining 5.3 percent from last year. It’s the worst rating since Super Bowl XLIII of 2009, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals.

Despite weak viewership, CBS reeled in an estimated $382 million in advertising revenue, the third-largest amount in the game’s 53-year history, research firm Kantar Media said on Monday.

Those stats may not thrill advertisers who shelled out an average of $5.25 million for a half-minute ad, according to Dan Granger, chief executive of ad agency Oxford Road. He said there’s “no correlation between viewership and pricing. It’s more linked to the economy.”

Granger said that the only time ad pricing fell was in 2010 during the recession. If consumer spending slows, then ad prices may drop next year, but most likely, pricing will be flat or up, he said.

Don’t worry much about the ad community, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of branding firm Metaforce, because the “biggest Super Bowl advertisers are very sophisticated with their deals.” When ratings are down, they have contract provisions to run their ads during other high-traffic time slots, such as prime time, on favorable terms.

“The Super Bowl is still valuable to so many outlets,” Adamson said. “There’s still a long list of people who want to advertise. That’s because there are so few opportunities to talk to 100 million people at once.”

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