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Mike Bloomberg Buys a 60-Second Super Bowl Ad for $10 Million

Rare national political ad to air alongside Trump re-election spot during the NFL’s title game

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has purchased a 60-second commercial slot during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIV next month, a rare move for a presidential campaign given the plus-size cost for advertising on TV’s most-watched show.

A rep for Bloomberg’s campaign confirmed that it decided to launch a one-minute commercial during the Super Bowl after learning that Donald Trump’s re-election campaign had booked its own 60-second spot which was reported by Politico. The Trump campaign later confirmed on its official Twitter account that it had purchased the ad time.

“The biggest point is getting under Trump’s skin,” Michael Frazier, a spokesman for the Bloomberg campaign, told The New York Times, which first reported the ad buy. “The ad is part of Mike’s strategy of running a national campaign that focuses on states where the general election will be decided, parts of the country that are often overlooked.” Frazier did not say how much the campaign spent on the ad, only that it was “market rate,” according to the Times.

A rep for Fox did not respond to a request for comment. Typically, the network that airs the Super Bowl does not divulge who buys ad time for the big game.

Fox had previously stated that 30-second commercial spots for the Super Bowl were going for north of $5 million, which would put Bloomberg’s ad buy at more than $10 million.

The Super Bowl will be held Sunday, Feb. 2. The first primary is set for Feb. 3 with the Iowa Caucus, followed by New Hampshire on Feb. 11, Nevada (Feb. 22) and South Carolina (Feb. 29). The Super Bowl is annually watched by more than 100 million viewers (though last year’s game fellow below that mark on TV).

The first week of Bloomberg’s candidacy included more than $30 million in TV ads from Nov. 25-Dec. 3, the most ever for most ad dollars ever spent by a political candidate in a single week. It far outpaced the old record of $24 million by Barack Obama during the last week of his 2012 re-election campaign.

Bloomberg, a media mogul whose net worth Forbes has pegged at $54 billion, is largely self-financing his long-shot presidential campaign.

Political advertising spending is expected to near $10 billion in 2020 (a 63% increase from 2016), with TV looking to get the biggest chunk. The influx of campaign money has led GroupM, the largest media-buying firm, to predict that TV ad revenue will increase by more than 5% in 2020. That $10 billion may only be the tip of the iceberg. By the time we hit Election Day in November, that amount could be much, much higher.

Typically, political TV ad dollars are funneled towards local TV — GroupM’s Brian Wieser says “maybe half” of all political TV ad spending will be on the local level — and targeted towards primary voters, and then later, voters in swing states like Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio. Then you factor in elections on the local level, from Senate and House seats to State Legislatures. But Wieser says the deep-pocketed Bloomberg is taking on a different tactic.

“It looks like that campaign’s play is to go for Super Tuesday. That means you’re going to run ads nationwide, and that means national TV may very well be a primary beneficiary,” he said.