With all the anticipation surrounding Sunday's big game, an analysis of national and local ratings from past Super Bowls provides insight into the viewership of this year's matchup:
- In terms of DMA's (Designated Market Area), Phoenix is ranked 12th and Pittsburgh 23rd of the 56 metered markets. The 2006 Super Bowl featured a similar match-up with Seattle, ranked the 13th largest DMA, against Pittsburgh, then 22nd. That game received a 57.4 rating in Pittsburgh and 54.4 in Seattle (compared to 41.6 nationally).
- From 1999-2008, the highest single-year metered market performance was delivered in Jacksonville in 2005 (NE-PHI played in Jacksonville) with a 58.9 HH rating. For a participating team's market, Atlanta owns the largest HH rating with a 58.2 in 1999 (DEN-ATL). Over the past decade, the Kansas City DMA has averaged the highest household rating, with 49.5% of television households tuning in to the Super Bowl each year (see chart below).
|RANK||MARKET||AVG. HH RATING|
|source: 2009 The Nielsen Company|
- Last year's thrilling Super Bowl owes a large part of its record-breaking ratings' success to a late-game viewer surge. At 10:02 PM, the final minute of the game, viewership peaked at a 51.3 HH rating, 72 share and over 112 million viewers. The final 30 minutes of the broadcast delivered a 47.5 HH rating. This was a 13% increase compared to all prior minutes (42.0).
- Since 2002, every Super Bowl has had its highest rating point occur in the 4th quarter and - in all but one instance - after 10PM ET (the Bears-Colts ended at 9:57PM ET). Additionally, Super Bowls that went down to the wire (NE-STL, NE-CAR, NYG-NE) experience a late increase in share percent, while games that were less competitive (TB-OAK, NE-PHI, PITT-SEA, IND-CHI) had share levels that were flat or declining in the final half hour.
- The Super Bowl ratings are higher in HD households. Last year's game received a 56.5 rating in HD capable/receivable homes. These homes over-indexed the composite HH rating by 31%.