Insights

Party Down: The Super Bowl is a Time for Eating, Drinking and Visiting Other People’s Homes!
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Party Down: The Super Bowl is a Time for Eating, Drinking and Visiting Other People’s Homes!

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.

Visitor Viewing Contribution to the Super Bowl
(Averaged over 5 years)

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.
Source: Nielsen

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.

Visitor Viewing Contribution to the Super Bowl Among Race/Ethnicities (Averaged over 5 years)

Race/Ethnicity (P2+) Super Bowl Average Viewership (000) Average Visitor Viewership (000) Percent of Demo (P2+) that are Visitors
Asian Americans 4,811 491 10%
Hispanic Americans 10,218 955 9%
African Americans 12,397 890 7%
White Non-Hispanic 81,379 8,649 11%
How to read for African-Americans: 11% of the total U.S. P2+ ratings was from short-term visitors.
Source: Nielsen

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.

Methodology

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.