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Hi SportsNewser readers - thanks for taking a few minutes of your day to check in with SportsNewser over the past year. Moving forward, sports media stories will be featured on our other blogs, including here on TVNewser.

SBJ: Super Bowl Ad Spots Nearly Sold Out

If football ad sales are any indication, the ad recovery the business is seeing this year is the real deal. As we reported last week, ad sales look to be strong for the upcoming 2010-2011 season, but we had no idea they would be this strong.

Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand reports that Fox has sold out nearly all of its Super Bowl spots at around $3 million a pop.

So far, CBS, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network all say they are at least 90% sold for the season, which is still a few weeks away from starting.

So what is behind the strong comeback? All of the networks seem to agree on that one:

Autos. The auto market has rebounded in a big way, with the domestic players increasing ad spending and imports like Toyota returning to market.

By all accounts, the auto category has been the most active this year. CBS and NBC said telecom was a strong second, while Fox cited films. The consensus, though, is that increased spending from the auto sector is driving the market.

“They basically took a year off,” said Jeremy Carey, media director for Optimum Sports, which handles Nissan and Infinity. “In order to sell cars, you have to advertise. We all know it works.”

That mirrors what CBS Sports executive VP John Bogusz said last week:

“Last year Chrysler fell out, Toyota fell off of us, though they were still in the marketplace, and GM at this time last year was a big question mark, although they did come in and spend a fair amount of money,” Bogusz said. “All three of those are already back, along with significant activity from all the imports, along with Ford.”

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