Americans looking for an escape from the country’s politically charged environment won’t find it in next month’s Super Bowl.
Dueling ads from US President Donald Trump and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are set to run during the NFL championship game. Both presidential campaigns announced the ad reservations for 60 seconds of airtime hours apart Tuesday for the February 2 game — just two days before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
The Trump campaign has for months been in talks for ad time with Fox, the network broadcasting the game. It formally reserved the time in December and paid the network the roughly $10 million fee last week.
“President Trump made the unprecedented decision to keep the campaign open following his first election, which allows us to do things like buying a Super Bowl ad,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.
Trump’s campaign also ran a commercial during last year’s World Series in baseball that highlighted the raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Bloomberg campaign said it decided on a Super Bowl ad once the Republican president’s intentions were clear, adding that the wide audience for the game fits its national delegate strategy. The Democrat is skipping the early four contests to focus on the delegate-rich March 3 Super Tuesday states, wagering that his primary opponents won’t have the resources to compete nationwide.
Bloomberg’s ad has also cost $10 million, US media reported Wednesday.
“The biggest point is getting under Trump’s skin,” said campaign spokesman Michael Frazier. “The ad is part of Mike’s strategy of running a national campaign that focuses on states where the general election will be decided, parts of the country that are often overlooked.”
Trump’s campaign has set fundraising records, saying last week that it raised $46 million in the last quarter of 2019 and had $102.7 million on hand as the election year began. The billionaire Bloomberg, meanwhile, has already spent more than $100 million of his own money on advertising and hired a staff of about 800 in the less than two months he’s been in the race.
Murtaugh said the Trump ad will air during the early part of the game, when viewership is typically highest.