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Super Bowl ads selling for $7 million this year -- and they're sold out

Visitors immerse themselves in the history of the NFL at an interactive exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend. The Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals will meet in Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Marketers have been lining up to let NBC relieve them of some serious cash for Super Bowl commercials this year -- $7 million for a 30-second slot, the most expensive in history.

And to give you an idea of how much money that will generate, the network says it has no more commercial slots available.

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Despite their cost, Super Bowl commercials are essentially the holy grail of advertising space -- particularly with about 100 million viewers expected to tune in to Super Bowl LVI on Sunday between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

"The fractionalization of attention because of streaming and social media makes the Super Bowl more important than ever," media consultant Patrick Crakes, a former television sports executive, told CNN Business.

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"Think about a company like GoDaddy. GoDaddy invested in the Super Bowl for years, did a lot of crazy things to get attention inside it, and it helped their business. I think it's a great investment, even at this price tag."

One product viewers will see plenty of in this year's crop of Super Bowl commercials is cryptocurrency. FTX Trading and Crypto.com are just two of several virtual currency companies that have paid the $7 million price tag for airtime.

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Robert Kolt, a professor at Michigan State University and advertising and marketing expert, told CBS News that some of the commercials are relying on humor against the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its third year.

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"From what I've seen, we're completely ignoring the pandemic," Kolt said. "It's back to fun and humor and celebrities."

According to The Sporting News, Super Bowl ads began at a high of $42,500 per spot for the first game in 1967. By 1974, the cost had jumped to $103,500 per spot. It surpassed the half-million-dollar mark in 1985 when the cost for 30 seconds climbed to $525,000.

The first million-dollar ads arrived in 1995 when Super Bowl airtime went for $1.15 million -- although the cost actually declined the following year before rising to $1.2 million in 1997.

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One company that was not able to buy its way into the game this year is CamSoda, a webcam streaming platform that carries some adult content. Although the commercial it submitted to NBC contained no nudity or anything that would challenge censors, the network apparently decided to pass on promoting a webcam site.

"The 30-second spot takes place on a beach and features a fully clothed man sitting in a beach chair sipping on a fizzy drink," CamSoda spokesman Brett Hogan told UPI in an email. "CamSoda's logo pops up at the end. The soundtrack features no dialogue and is reminiscent of the classic Corona [beer] beach [ads] of years past."

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