It’s back, and bigger, and more expensive, than ever. Super Bowl 50. The Golden Super Bowl. (Glad they ditched the Roman numerals, aren’t you?) As we all know, the Broncos and Panthers will be playing for the title. Will Peyton go out a winner? Will Cam Newton lead the Panthers to their first ever Super Bowl win? We’ll know for sure on Sunday Feb 7 when the game is played in Santa Clara and on CBS nationwide.

One thing we already know, the “Gold” in this Super Bowl is also related to the cost of advertising, a reported $5MM for a :30 commercial on CBS, an all time record. But the Super Bowl was not always as big an event. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the big game, here’s some Super Bowl history worth remembering:


The first “Super Bowl” was played on January 15, 1967 featuring the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers against the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Historians will remind us that the two rival leagues had not merged as yet and would not do so until after the third Super Bowl. Green Bay, led by legendary Coach Vince Lombardi, easily won by a score of 35-10. Al Hirt was the halftime talent. Interestingly the NFL Network recently was able to piece together the original broadcast. KC actually hung in during the first half until the packers pulled ahead in the second half.


The first “Super Bowl” wasn’t even “super”. It was merely called the AFL-NFL World Championship game and was played at a neutral site, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

It was not sold out, despite modest ticket prices ($12) and a local TV blackout. The term “Super Bowl” was an off handed comment made by Chiefs owner, Lamar Hunt based on his granddaughter’s love of the “super ball” toy. The Super Bowl name stuck and it took on the official name after the third game.


The first game was broadcast on two networks, CBS, which carried NFL games, and NBC, which carried AFL games.

CBS charged $85,000 for a 60 second commercial, NBC charged $75,000. The game achieved a combined 41 household rating with 51 million viewers.


This year’s advertisers will be paying up to $5 million for each 30 second commercial, more than $166,600 per second, which more than a full :30 on both CBS and NBC’s broadcast.

As we approach Super Bowl 50, the line-up of advertisers forking over $5MM per :30 (with many buying multiple spots) is long. Advertisers include many mega brands and some not so well known ones as follows:



Pokemon (yeah, that’s right)




Bud Light


Mountain Dew

Shock Top

Michelob Ultra



Taco Bell



Avocados from Mexico












Turbo Tax


Sun Trust



If you want a sneak peak of the TV spots, check out Super Bowl Commercials 2016.

Will these dollars be spent wisely? It depends. It depends on the power and creativity of the message and, just as importantly, the buzz around it.


We’ll be watching. Will you?