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The Super (ad) Bowl: Why it’s a record, who’s in, who's out

Scarlett Johansson stars in a SodaStream Super Bowl ad.
Source: SodaStream | YouTube

Whether or not this year's Super Bowl becomes the most watched ever, it is expected to be the most expensive ever for Madison Avenue.

Fox, which is broadcasting the game, is earning $4 million to $4.1 million for an average 30 second spot—slightly ahead of last year's $4 million rate, but up dramatically from the $3 million price tag in 2009, and the $2.3 million back in 2004.

What's striking about that $4 million price is that it's about 2½ times the second-priciest spot on television, typically the Academy Awards.

Why is it so valuable?