Streaming Super Bowl 50

Last year’s Super Bowl XLIX (49) between the Patriots and Seahawks posted the largest television audience in U.S. history with 114.4 million viewers, breaking the prior record from Super Bowl XLVIII (48) between the Broncos and Seahawks. Super Bowl 50 (without the roman numerals this year) is widely expected to set a new record, given the strong ratings for the conference championship games and rumors and speculation that it will be the final game of future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning. ValueScope estimates the final TV ratings will reach about 119 million, an increase of 4.0% over last year’s record setting mark. Over the last 15 Super Bowls, an annual increase of greater than 4% has only occurred three times (2006, 2008 and 2010).

Streaming Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl Audience

The projected Super Bowl audience is expected to be 2.4x the audience of the AFC/NFC championship games, which averaged 49.7 million people two weeks ago. So what factors draw in an additional 69.3 million people to the NFL for one Sunday? A recent pre-Super Bowl survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that only 34.7% of Americans that plan to watch the Super Bowl cite the game as their primary reason. 17.7% of potential U.S. viewers cited commercials.

The NRF estimates that nearly 184 million people plan to watch at least part of Super Bowl 50. 43.3 million Americans are planning to host a Super Bowl party for friends and/or family. Another 70 million Americans plan on attending one of those watch parties. The younger demographic cited particular interest in the entertainment unrelated to the game’s players and coaches. Lady Gaga is scheduled to sing the national anthem prior to kickoff and Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars will perform at halftime.

Role of Streaming

The role of streaming will also increase for this year’s Super Bowl. The game has been available on PCs and tablets since 2012. However, Super Bowl 50 will mark the first time the game will be shown via streaming devices such as the Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast. Streaming coverage is also expected through Amazon Fire and to Verizon mobile customers.

The NFL and its media partners are trying to evolve with the younger demographic. CBS (this year’s Super Bowl broadcast network) reported triple digit growth in viewers and minutes for the AFC championship game over the prior year. According to Variety magazine, only 18 of 70+ advertisers chose to run commercials on both TV and online. This year, CBS mandated that all sponsors run their commercials on both media formats. A 30 second ad on TV is reportedly running $4.5 million to over $5 million for Super Bowl 50. The price for digital ads was expected to be much cheaper.

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