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On Average, Halftime Show Performers Score 555% Post Game Sales Bump

2 minute read | February 2010

The Super Bowl offers tremendous exposure not just for the sport and its advertisers, but also for the A-list musicians who perform at halftime. A Nielsen SoundScan analysis shows that songs played during the last five Super Bowl halftime shows enjoyed an average 555% surge in sales the following week. Meanwhile, the performers’ top albums saw a 478% average spike in next-week sales.

Bruce Springsteen’s 2009 halftime performance coincided with the release of his newest album “Working on a Dream.” The show helped the album debut with 224,000 copies sold in its first week. The performance also boosted The Boss’s overall catalog, with all other album sales soaring 218% in the following week.

If digital downloads were any indication, Springsteen’s halftime set list was also a hit. In the week after the Super Bowl, digital sales surged for each of his four performed songs: “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” (+1320%), “Glory Days” (+602), “Born To Run” (+360) and “Working on a Dream” (+221%).

“The Super Bowl halftime show is an incredible driver of music sales time and time again,” says Dave Bakula, SVP of Analytics for Nielsen Entertainment. “Big televised events like the SuperBowl and the Grammy Awards help expose artists to millions of Americans of different ages that they may not normally be exposed to. When a classic rock artist, like Springsteen or Tom Petty, performs in the SuperBowl, it also reminds fans why they fell in love with the artist in the first place and drives those people to purchase.”

Post Game TV Bump

Only a handful of TV shows have ever had the benefit of a Super Bowl lead-in. For network programmers, the post-game timeslot offers a rare opportunity to introduce a program to a wide range of viewers that they may not otherwise reach. Since 1990, the most watched post game broadcast was a special episode of Friends that aired after Dallas beat Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX on NBC.


(since 1990)

Super Bowl Year Network Program After the Game Avg # of Viewers
XXX 1996 NBC Friends 52,925,000
XXXV 2001 CBS Survivor II 45,369,000
XL 2006 ABC Grey’s Anatomy 37,881,000
XXXII 1998 NBC Third Rock from the Sun 33,662,000
XXXVIII 2004 CBS Survivor All-Star 33,535,000
Source: The Nielsen Company

Another measure of success for these shows is the percent of viewers retained from the game. Friends, for example, held 56% of the 94 million Super Bowl XXX viewers. More recently, post-Super Bowl programming has seen mixed results:


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