PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- It takes millions of dollars for Fox to bring the Super Bowl into U.S. homes, but the auto industry is more than willing to give it a lift.
According to Kantar Media, the Super Bowl has generated $2 billion in ad sales since 2004. Total ad spending climbed from $149.6 million a decade ago to $292 million just last year. The cost for a 30-second ad also skyrocketed from $2.15 million to $4 million during that span.
The amount of Super Bowl commercial time has increased from 41 minutes and 55 seconds in 2004 to 51 minutes and 40 seconds last year, while the number of commercials aired has risen from 88 to 97 during that same period. Commercials of a minute or more made up 15% of all ad purchases last year.
Automakers are driving a whole lot of that spending. Of the five companies who spent the most on Super Bowl ads in the last five years, two of them were carmakers. Of the $437 million those five companies spent during that span, $132 million was spent by auto manufacturers.
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Those sales have only accelerated since the recession. While only three car companies bought ads for the 2009 Super Bowl, seven brands from five different companies have bought ads this year. Car companies have been the top Super Bowl ad buyers since 2011, and seem to only be gaining momentum. With this year's Super Bowl commercial field already choked with cars, we take a look at just how the companies buying those ads have been faring and whether their results justify the traffic: