Everyone watches the Super Bowl, but for media business veterans, it has become an almost religious experience in a world of increasing atomization and linear decline.

With ratings dwindling and business models collapsing, last year’s edition had the highest audience of any TV event in history, with 115.1 million viewers (with the caveat of new Nielsen methodology).

This year’s clash on Sunday, February 11, between the San Francisco 49ers and the Taylor Swift-enhanced Kansas City Chiefs has the potential to make the game even greater. On the corporate level, it will definitely increase morale at Paramount Global, which will benefit from the program by receiving hundreds of millions of dollars as speculation over its future grows.

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Super Bowl ad rates have continued to rise, as viewership remains high. Last November, Paramount announced that it had “virtually sold out” of its inventory, with 30-second spots costing up to $7 million, a new record.

“In an on-demand world, where there’s been so much cord-cutting and streaming, this is still the single best opportunity to cume an audience,” Matt Sweeney, Chief Investment Officer of GroupM U.S., told Deadline in an interview. “It is that moment where people are sitting around a huge flat-screen TV, and an impactful part of the cultural moment is the ads.”

Insiders told Deadline that as the playoff field shrank to the final four, manufacturers began to send out signals about the possibility of elbowing their way into the big game. (Had the Detroit Lions defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship, it would have been their first Super Bowl appearance.)

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Along the same lines, there has been talk about a marketer looking to target Swifties making a last-minute purchase, albeit that, like the Detroit situation, would require the NFL to approve the creation of a new spot. “It could be worth a conversation and trying to figure it out,” an executive in the sales trenches tells Deadline, but given the sensitivity of advertisers who locked up places months ago, changing the lineup seemed unlikely.

The nature of the inventory accessible to ad buyers has changed in the age of streaming and alternate telecasts. This year’s main program on CBS will also be available on Paramount+, and an alternate, family-friendly telecast is scheduled for Nickelodeon, which will feature plenty of oozing green on-screen slime visuals and other upgrades.

According to a source familiar with the sales process, Paramount signed 15 exclusive purchasers who chose to exclusively appear on the Nick program. These spots become available in part because the cable networks will be unable to bring across more mature pitches from CBS in categories such as alcohol and sports betting. Some advertisers, including Ally Financial, choose to have their messages appear solely on the Paramount+ stream. “That $7 million is not for everyone,” one buyer said.

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Meanwhile, TelevisaUnivision will broadcast and webcast the game in Spanish, with exclusive commercials aimed at Hispanic viewers. Univision, the game’s flagship broadcast network, attracts more viewers than previous Spanish-language Super Bowl telecasts on ESPN Deportes.

According to Nielsen, the NFL will account for 93 of the top 100 most-watched TV programs in 2023, making the Super Bowl a watercooler classic with appeal across a wide range of ad categories. Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, and major automakers will all be there, along with a few newcomers.

Celebrity endorsements, long a popular option for corporations, have increased in recent years due to a variety of circumstances. So far, teasers and trailers for Super Bowl LVIII have featured Arnold Schwarzenegger (State Farm), Tina Fey (Booking.com), Kate MacKinnon (Hellman’s), and many more.

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According to ad analytics firm iSpot, the number of Super Bowl ads featuring celebrities has increased from less than one-third of all advertising in 2010 to two-thirds by 2023. (See the chart below.)

“Not only must brands consider the cost to feature the talent, but the fit with the brand and the potential for unexpected and potentially unflattering news is high,” iSpot stated in an up-to-the-minute article “However, there is nothing like celebrity – if done right – to spike breakthrough, engagement, and memorability of an ad.”

The frequency of advertisements featuring female celebrities has increased even more dramatically since 2010, jumping from 7% to 44% last year.

“With the NFL (and Taylor Swift) working hard to expand the league’s audience across age and to include women in particular, the rise of female celebrities will be something to watch in 2024,” according to the report. “Although female presence has improved, the lead dialogue has historically been carried by women in less than 25% of ads.”

One big motivation for brands to partner with celebrities is the increased advertising footprint. Unlike years before, when the dose of attention came on game day and then in consecutive linear flights, today’s media consumers are offered a regular diet of teasers, excerpts, and snippets, as well as the full ad itself, in the run-up to Super Sunday. One buyer does not expect the plan to change. “The pre-promotion has become as important as the ad itself, especially given the importance of social media,” GroupM’s Sweeney said.