How bad is it? NBC hasn't sold all its Super Bowl ad spots

A week before Super Bowl XLIII, NBC is still in "active negotiations" to sell its last few commercial spots.

That's why some advertising wags are calling Super Bowl 2009 the Economy Bowl.

This close to game time, it's unusual to have any of the 67 time slots unsold.

The network, which will show next Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, had no trouble getting takers for its record-high $3 million-per-half-minute spots — before Labor Day.

After that, sales fizzled along with the economy.

This year, notable previous advertisers, including General Motors and FedEx, have said they're taking a break from the chance to reach 90 million to 148 million viewers, depending on who's doing the estimating.

"A lot of advertisers are a little gun-shy," said David Shoffner, spokesman for, which monitors Super Bowl commercials and viewer reaction.

"They’re thinking of the message it sends to their employees and stockholders who might view it as extravagant to spend a record amount when they're laying off employees or cutting dividends."

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