Millions of viewers will tune in to the Super Bowl on Sunday, but between all the touchdowns and turnovers, they will be subjected to a slew of commercials. But how much of those advertisements will sports fans remember?

A pair of sport marketing researchers suggest that companies whose commercials appear earlier in the game will have a greater likelihood of brand recognition.

An article detailing their findings will appear in the March issue of Sport Marketing Quarterly, published by FiT Publishing, a division of the International Center for Performance Excellence at the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences of West Virginia University.

Researchers Yongick Jeong, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University, and Hai Tran, an assistant professor at DePaul University, examined the effectiveness of ad placement throughout four different Super Bowl broadcasts. What they discovered was that “advertising effectiveness peaks in the earlier game quarters and then gradually decreases as the game progresses.”

Additionally, the researchers examined whether the specific commercial break within the quarter had an effect on recognition. The findings? The first and last “pods” of commercials in the first quarter harbor maximum brand recognition for the game.

“We can predict that placing ads in the first and last commercial breaks of the first quarter would yield the most favorable results if the goal of an advertising campaign is to increase the awareness of brand among sports viewers,” the authors state in the journal article.

The average cost for a 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl is $4 million, but these findings could increase that number in the future: Networks may be able to utilize this new knowledge in order to increase advertising rates during prime pods.

Additionally, this research will allow advertisers to gain a greater understanding of which commercial breaks will be most beneficial for increasing their brand’s awareness.

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