Taking aim at Trump, White House candidate Bloomberg will air Super Bowl ad

NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg will air a 60-second television commercial during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, the latest example of how the billionaire is using his vast wealth to advance his campaign.

The Bloomberg campaign said on Tuesday that the buy was in response to reports that U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign had secured its own spot during the telecast, which is one of the most watched events of the year. Last year’s National Football League championship game drew nearly 100 million viewers.

Bloomberg’s aides did not say how much the commercial had cost, but executives from Fox, which is airing the 54th Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in Miami, told Variety in November that a 30-second ad would cost more than $5 million.

Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November, months after the other candidates in the field launched their own bids. There are 14 Democrats still vying for the chance to take on Trump in November.

The former mayor of New York City has elected to pursue an unconventional strategy, skipping the states that have early nominating contests like Iowa and New Hampshire that traditionally have helped identify the front runners.

Instead, he is putting his estimated $53 billion fortune to work in states that vote later in the calendar, including more than a dozen on what is known as Super Tuesday in March. He is not collecting campaign donations.

The campaign also announced on Tuesday it would organize more than 150 voter events across 27 states on Saturday while Bloomberg visits several Texas cities by bus, calling it “Day One” of his nationwide campaign to win the Democratic nomination.

Trump has built a massive war chest after raising $46 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Bloomberg, who is campaigning as a centrist, spent more than $76 million on television ads between mid-November and mid-December, more than all other presidential candidates put together, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.

He has also rapidly expanded his staff, hiring about 800 workers since launching his campaign. (Reporting by Joseph Ax Bill Berkrot)