The NFL championship kicks off in Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is excited about the network providing coverage of a record 21st Super Bowl.
In the latest episode of "Media Talk," a podcast from S&P Global Market Intelligence, McManus not only discusses the high-profile match-up between generational quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes of the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady, now leading the Buccaneers — but that CBS Sports has sold out inventory in the big game. That said, the company's sales team can still squeeze in advertisers looking for positions in pre-game and halftime segments.
McManus also said CBS Sports kept its Super Bowl "pricing integrity very strong." Thirty-second spots in the title tilt have reportedly fetched some $5.5 million per unit.
While the pandemic has scaled back some of ViacomCBS Inc.'s coverage plans in Tampa — it punted on hosting a big studio operation — it still plans on showcasing a number of the reunited company's assets.
McManus also expressed confidence — if not specifics — about ViacomCBS renewing its rights deal with TV's biggest property, the NFL.
As to other properties, CBS teed off its 64th year of PGA coverage with Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Jan. 30-31, The presentation featured new on-air looks, including vistas from drones.
McManus, who called golf "foundational" to CBS Sports, said it was a high priority to renew deals for the PGA Tour and PGA Championship. He said the entitlement procedures make the deals fair for the parties and they work well financially for CBS Sports.
Heading past Super Bowl LV, the next big event on the sports calendar is the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball tournament. Last year's version of March Madness was canceled due to COVID-19 just days before its scheduled tip-off.
While the 67-game tourney will be held entirely in the state of Indiana, McManus noted that CBS Sports and co-rights holder Turners Sports will save costs on travel and expenses by not going to the tournament's typical regional sites. However, with the health protocols in place to guard against COVID-19, the upcoming event will be among the most difficult ever from a production standpoint, he said.
Advertising wise, McManus said the market for the tournament is "breaking a little later" than last year when it sold out weeks in advance. Still, he's confident the event will sell out and drive higher volume than what was in place last year before the pandemic struck.
March Madness will be part of Paramount+, the streaming service that ViacomCBS is converting from CBS All Access, when it launches in the U.S. March 4. McManus expects that sporting events, like the NF, golf, March Madness and the company's deals with UEFA for Europe top soccer club competitions, the Champions and Europa Leagues, will continue to be big subscription drivers for the service.
This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.
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