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Survey Says: American's Super Bowl viewing habits

The latest findings from the Seton Hall Sports Poll.

The number of Americans who are planning to watch the Super Bowl with others from outside their household is up 84% over two years ago. Also, 44 percent of those who say they'll watch most look forward to the commercials and halftime show; plans to wager on the Big Game are up by 32% and there are some eye opening numbers for advertising and social media use (50% say they'll discuss the best and worst commercials on social media; 75% say they pay more attention to Super Bowl commercials.

Has the Super Bowl party made a post-Covid comeback? The numbers seem to point in that direction, with data from the last three years supporting this conclusion.

In 2021 just 25 percent of the general population said they would be gathering with others who live outside their home to watch the Super Bowl. In 2023 that number rose to 46 percent, an increase of 84 percent over the last two years.

Likewise, among self-identified sports fans, in 2021 just 27 percent said they would be gathering with others from outside their home to watch the game. In 2023 that number rose to 52 percent, an increase of 93 percent.

These were among the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted last week among 1,534 adults across the country. The poll featured a national representative sample from YouGov weighted on U.S. Census Bureau figures for gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

“The multi-billion dollar business of sports reaches far beyond the field of play,” said Professor Charles Grantham, Director of the Center for Sport Management within Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business, which sponsors the Poll. “The Super Bowl is a major event and the impact of these gatherings reach across the economy. For the league, the network and the advertisers, this is the biggest sport marketing day of the year.”

Super Bowl Commercials and Halftime

The conversation around the business of the Super Bowl is often centered on the commercials and the Poll asked about the attention paid to them and their influence on buying. Among the general public (22%) and even self-described sports fans (20%), many Americans look forward to the Super Bowl mainly for the commercials. An equal number feel the same way about the halftime show.

Regardless of which part of the broadcast has their primary focus, it is clear that advertisements garner additional attention during the Super Bowl, with 75 percent of the general population and 78 percent of sports fans saying they pay more attention to these ads – with only 10 percent (of both) saying they do not.

“People invariably say advertising has no influence on them,” said Seton Hall Marketing Professor Daniel Ladik, who is chief methodologist for the poll. “But the Super Bowl is an exception. It is TV’s biggest night of the year and these commercials grab stronger mindshare than any other TV ads – and people seem willing in this context to admit to their influence.”

Social Media, Commercials and Viewing Methods

The more avid the fan, the more likely he or she is to invest time on social media during the Super Bowl presumably comparing notes with others or checking out expert commentary as the game progresses. And that includes commenting on commercials too. Among the general population 43 percent say they’ll engage with social media during the game; among sports fans that number rises to 47 percent and with self-described “avid fans,” 60 percent. Notably, 50 percent of the general population say they will comment at some point on the commercials via social media while 12 percent of the general population say they will partake in second-screen engagement for the game.


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