Super Bowl Ads Could Become More Political


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How would you feel about seeing a political ad during the Super Bowl? Some people are trying to make that happen.

Politico is reporting that the game this year has attracted people from anti-abortion camps and sports blackout opponents trying to buy ads in and around the game.

Traditionally, the game has not been a place where political advertising is allowed. Wendy Melillo, an ad expert and professor at the American University School of Communication said that the only time a political ad has shown up in the Super Bowl has been in the form of “public-service advertising.”

Presidential candidate Randall Terry tried to get a campaign commercial featuring aborted fetuses on NBC’s Chicago station. It was shot down by the FCC on Friday. He said that other markets would run the ad on Sunday.

Terry’s attempt at buying ad space was turned back by the FCC because they said that “broadcasters do not have to sell airtime on the Super Bowl to federal candidates.”

Where Terry failed, other groups are attempting to have their voice heard during the game. Chapters of the Sports Fan Coalition are buying the time around the Super Bowl and in other football programming to push their campaign to get rid of sports blackout rules.

For those unaware, sports blackout rules in the NFL states that “any broadcaster that has a signal that transmits within a 75-mile radius of an NFL stadium may only broadcast the game if it is a road game, or if the game sells out 72 hours or more before game time.”

The Sports Fan Coalition learned a lot from the SOPA/PIPA protests this year and are wanting to apply that same power to this issue. They want to make people aware of these blackout laws and cause a public outrage that lawmakers can’t ignore.

While the game may be politics free now, some people see that as changing in the future. Melillo says that as a culture, we’re making it difficult to avoid anything “too partisan or too political or too religious.”

The FCC, however, doesn’t think so believing that this year’s push was an “isolated incident.” Buying air time on the Super Bowl is “special” and with all the other companies buying ads, they can’t very well give ad time to federal candidates.

What do you think? Should political ads be allowed in the Super Bowl? Or should the event stay politics free?