Trump, Bloomberg plan campaign ads during Super Bowl

By Joseph Ax
FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses the Iron Hills Civic Association in Staten Island, New York

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg each are planning to air a 60-second television commercial during this year's Super Bowl broadcast, a prime example of their ability to devote vast resources to reach millions of viewers.

Trump campaign officials said the campaign paid $10 million for air time during the Super Bowl for an ad that will promote Trump's re-election in November.

The 54th Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in Miami will be broadcast on the Fox network.

"We have been in discussions with Fox since the fall and reserved time in December. We paid for the ad last week. We bought 60 seconds of time," a senior campaign official said.

The Bloomberg campaign said earlier on Tuesday that its buy was in response to reports that Trump's re-election campaign had secured its own spot during the telecast, which is one of the most watched events of the year. Last year's National Football League championship game drew nearly 100 million viewers.

Bloomberg's aides did not say how much the commercial had cost, but Fox executives told Variety in November that a 30-second ad would cost more than $5 million.

Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November, months after the other candidates in the field launched their own bids. There are 14 Democrats still vying for the chance to take on Trump in November.

The former mayor of New York City has elected to pursue an unconventional strategy, skipping the states that have early nominating contests like Iowa and New Hampshire that traditionally have helped identify the front runners.

Instead, he is putting his estimated $53 billion fortune to work in states that vote later in the calendar, including more than a dozen on what is known as Super Tuesday in March. He is not collecting campaign donations.

The campaign also announced on Tuesday it would organize more than 150 voter events across 27 states on Saturday while Bloomberg visits several Texas cities by bus, calling it "Day One" of his nationwide campaign to win the Democratic nomination.

Trump has built a massive war chest after raising $46 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Bloomberg, who is campaigning as a centrist, spent more than $76 million on television ads between mid-November and mid-December, more than all other presidential candidates combined, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.

He has also rapidly expanded his staff, hiring about 800 workers since launching his campaign.


(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot)