With its hundred-million-plus U.S viewers tuning in, the Super Bowl has become a national holiday of sorts, characterized by beer, Buffalo wings and boisterous parties—essential ingredients in this very special Sunday.
So have we gotten carried away with ourselves to the point where the game has become secondary to the party? According to a recent Nielsen analysis, we have not.
In looking at television viewing of the Super Bowl, the analysis found that the ratings contribution from visiting friends, neighbors and relatives is substantial and remains relatively consistent. In fact, over the past half-decade, Super Bowl viewing from consumers who do not live in the primary rating household—the short-term visitors—contribute about 10% to the total ratings, which equates to roughly 11 million viewers (among people two years old and older) during each matchup between the NFC and AFC champs.
Like most sporting events, however, ratings for the Super Bowl can be affected by which teams are squaring off. Take 2012 for instance, when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. During that matchup, nearly 12 million viewers were short-term visitors.
However, the contributions that short term visitors give to the ratings also depend on the viewers themselves.
Over the past five years, viewers 18-24 years old have made up about 9% of the total Super Bowl viewership, and a large contribution of that audience comes from short-term visitors. In fact, more than one-fifth of the audience (21%) comes from these young short-term visitors! Over that same time period, 25-34 year olds made up nearly 14% of the total Super Bowl viewership and about 18% of the short-term visiting viewers. In short, the younger the adult demo is, the more short-term visitor viewing occurs.
|Age||Super Bowl Average Viewership (000)||Average Audience Composition||Average Visitor Viewership (000)||Percent of Demo that are Visitors|
|All people (P2+)||110,031||100%||11,097||10%|
|2-11 years old||9,051||8%||636||7%|
|12-17 years old||7,590||7%||738||7%|
|18-24 years old||10,113||9%||2,071||21%|
|25-34 years old||15,006||14%||2,695||18%|
|35-49 years old||25,975||24%||2,424||9%|
|50-64 years old||25,467||23%||1,654||7%|
|65 years old and older||16,829||15%||880||5%|
|How to read for P2+: 10% of the total U.S. P2+ ratings were from short-term visitors.
Among race and ethnic breaks, short-term visitors make an impact as well. Hispanic short-term visiting viewers, for instance, account for 9% of the five-year average of the Super Bowl ratings.
|Race/Ethnicity (P2+)||Super Bowl Average Viewership (000)||Average Visitor Viewership (000)||Percent of Demo (P2+) that are Visitors|
|How to read for African-Americans: 11% of the total U.S. P2+ ratings was from short-term visitors.
And knowing just how many young adults are gathered in groups around a television for the big game can help inform marketers to create advertising campaigns specifically to reach and resonate with various groups of people—from football fans to casual party crashers.
Insights were pulled using NPOWER, Live Plus Same Day AA% and Projections, to include U.S. persons 2-99, 2-11, 12-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65-99. Insights were also pulled for Hispanic, African-American, Asian and White (Non-Hispanic). Short-Term Visitor viewing is defined as viewing from friends, neighbors and relatives who are not part of the Primary Household. This analysis includes extended home contribution.