This Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas, Texas, in the NFL’s Super Bowl XLV. The game will feature the NFL’s top two defensive teams and mark a milestone for the Steelers for the most number of Super Bowl appearances, tying the Dallas Cowboy’s eight appearances in their franchise history. And while most fans will be heading out to their favorite bar, restaurant or over to whichever friend’s house has the biggest flat-screen TV (and fanciest TV lift cabinet), a rather large sub-section of football fans and bystanders will be watching the Super Bowl this year for the ads.

In fact, many are speculating that this year’s Super Bowl will draw record viewership, surpassing last year’s record 106.5 million viewers. And so the advertisers are planning to bring their own “A game”. The price of advertising has risen over the years, quadrupling in the last twenty years. This jump in cost for a Super Bowl commercial from last year to this year was about 30 percent. If you want to air a thirty-second commercial, just one time, during the Packers/Steelers Super Bowl, plan on shelling out $3 million, and that doesn’t even figure into what it cost to produce the commercial.

Super Bowl ads, however, also have a long history of paying for themselves in revenue. Many of the most-watched, most-liked, most “viral” YouTube videos last year were commercials that debuted during the 2010 Super Bowl.

This year companies, like Bud Light, are trying to use social media to create a buzz for their ads before they’ve even aired. Bud Light created a virtual social game called “Unlock the Spot” and is asking fans to guess which storylines will appear in their three Super Bowl ads this year. In 2010, Budweiser, another Anheuser-Busch beer brand, asked its fans to vote for which ad they aired.

The social media tie-in is just one of five speculated themes that will be present in 2011’s selection of Super Bowl ads. Other major themes likely to pop up during pauses in the game and during halftime are cars, women and an overall Hollywood “feel” to these high-dollar ads. Another theme this year will be the list of companies that opted out of advertising during the Super Bowl. Among this list are Pizza Hut, Denny’s and Papa John’s.

Regardless of who shows, who no-shows and who wins this year in the Super Bowl, have fun, enjoy the game and send us a picture of your TV lift in action during the Super Bowl XLV!