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NBC Gets $4 Million for Super Bowl Ads, Sells Out Inventory

Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal has sold out its 30-second advertising spots for this year’s Super Bowl, getting as much as $4 million per slot, according to NBC Sports spokesman Chris McCloskey.

That amount is a record for NBC, McCloskey said. The average ad for the Feb. 5 game in Indianapolis sold for $3.5 million, he said. NBC has also sold out its digital advertising, he said.

This year’s average ad price is up 17 percent from last year, when News Corp.’s Fox commanded about $3 million per ad, according to analyst estimates. NBC last broadcast the Super Bowl in 2009 and will be airing its 17th National Football League finale, tying CBS for No. 1 among the networks.

While NBC has sold all of its inventory, certain ad buyers have expressed willingness to sell their slots if another company offers to pay for time, McCloskey said. There are “a few” of these opportunities available, he said.

The 2011 Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers was the highest-rated single telecast of the year with 111 million viewers, the biggest audience in U.S. television history.

NBC’s prime-time ratings trail CBS, Fox and Walt Disney Co’s ABC. “Sunday Night Football” is the most watched weekly program on the network. More than 21 million viewers watched “Sunday Night Football” per week, excluding Jan. 1’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, according to Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at New York-based Horizon Media Inc.

The Cowboys-Giants game was the most-watched Sunday Night game in the show’s six-year history on NBC, the channel said. Fox’s American Idol was the only regularly scheduled primetime show to average a higher audience in 2011, according to Nielsen.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, rose 3.3 percent to $24.50 at the close in New York. The shares were up 7.9 percent last year.

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