• Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump are both airing national ads during the Super Bowl today. This is the first time in Super Bowl history that a presidential candidate has aired a national ad.
  • A Washington Post analysis, written by the three co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project, analysed the historic ad spend in the 2020 campaign. Bloomberg has aired seven times as many TV commercials to date as the previous record holder, Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign.
  • Bloomberg and fellow billionaire Tom Steyer have spent $310 million on advertising so far. All other campaigns from 2008 on spent a total of $383.5 million on ads.
  • Bloomberg’s unconventional campaign is largely funded by his $54 billion net worth.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At some point during Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV, the nationwide broadcast will show presidential campaign advertisements from two New York billionaires. After President Trump’s reelection campaign purchased two 30-second nationwide spots, Michael Bloomberg announced his own 60-second ad last month. These two ads will be the Super Bowl’s first nationwide presidential ads.

These ads, which cost both candidates roughly $10 million dollars, are emblematic of the astronomical ad spends in 2020’s presidential contest. A Washington Post analysis, written by the three co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project, found that Bloomberg’s campaign has aired seven times as many TV commercials to date as previous record-holder Mitt Romney’s campaign had at this point in 2008.

The Wesleyan Media Project found that an estimated $367 million has been spent on political ads so far. This is an increase of 131 percent over 2016 spending to date.

The Post article found that between 2008 and January 26th of 2020 a total of $383.5 million was spent on presidential advertisements, excluding Bloomberg and fellow billionaire candidate Tom Steyer. Steyer and Bloomberg have spent $310 million on ads this cycle combined, 80 percent of the total spent by all other presidential campaigns since 2008.

Bloomberg’s campaign alone has spent $200 million this cycle, just short of Hillary Clinton’s $257.6 million 2016 advertising spending. Steyer is also a big spender, and has aired five times as many commercials to date as Romney did in 2008. The next largest ad spender besides Bloomberg this cycle is Bernie Sanders, with $9 million spent so far.

Before this cycle, Mitt Romney’s campaign was also the single-biggest candidate spender on ads, dropping $28 million in 2008. Right to Rise, the SuperPAC that supported Jeb Bush’s 2016 run, spent $50 million.

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Bloomberg, who has already aired nearly as many ads this campaign as Trump did in 2020, is taking an unconventional approach to campaigning. With his $54 billion net worth, he has unprecedented resources to pour into advertising dollars and staffing.

Given his late entry, he has focused on the Super Tuesday states instead of the first four states. Wesleyan Media Project’s Data confirms that Bloomberg has been spending widely, while Steyer’s spending is mostly concentrated in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

Bloomberg’s approach seems to be somewhat effective, though it’s yet to be tested by actual voting. Business Insider polling shows that within three weeks of launching his campaign, Democratic voters thought that he would do better against Trump than a generic Democrat. Bloomberg’s polling numbers have continued to rise since he entered the campaign last November.

With this Super Bowl ad, Bloomberg (and Trump) is yet again upping the ante for poltical spending. Other campaigns have purchased Super Bowl ads in local markets, like Obama who targeted 28 markets in 2008 for $550,000.

Last year, the Super Bowl drew 98.2 million viewers, an 11 year low.