This Day In Market History: 'Seinfeld' Finale Airs, Sets Advertising Record For NBC


Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened? On this day in 1998, the series finale of “Seinfeld” broke prime time TV advertising records for NBC.

Where The Market Was: The Dow finished the day at 9,172.23. The S&P 500 traded at 1,117.37.

What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1998, the U.S. announced its first annual budget surplus in 30 years. European nations officially agreed on the Euro being their universal currency. A postage stamp cost 32 cents.

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The End Of The Show About Nothing: After nine seasons, the hit sitcom “Seinfeld” aired its two-part finale on NBC in May of 1998 to an audience of 76 million viewers. Advertisers paid a record $1 million for 30 seconds of air time during the shows.

The “Seinfeld” finale marked the first time in TV history a non-sports broadcast had commended advertising rates in the $1 million range. At the time, NBC was a subsidiary of General Electric Company GE, but today it's owned by Comcast Corporation CMCSA.

The “Seinfeld” finale drew the fourth-highest ratings of any TV series finally behind only “M*A*S*H,” “Cheers” and “The Fugitive.”

The finale drew mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, but there’s no question that “Seinfeld” was a huge cash cow for NBC and GE shareholders during its nine-year run.

Image credit: Alan Light, Flickr

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