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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Super Bowl viewership dips to 95-million people, despite massive hype

3

February

Hotfootballfans The good news about TV viewership for Super Bowl XLIII: It was the second most-watched in history, with a 95-million viewers watching on NBC, according to the network.

The bad news: The most-watched Super Bowl in history was just last year, when the New York Giants and New England Patriots drew 97-million people to Fox in 2008.

The results may feed a minor storyline emerging in this year's Super Bowl; that, despite the hype and big numbers, even TV's biggest show has been impacted by the fragmenting media culture and ongoing recession -- as numbers for the game dip a bit from last year and the network struggled to sell premium 30-second ad spaces priced at $3-million each.

Certainly, these figures are nothing to scoff at. NBC cites a total 147-million Super Bowl viewers, making it the third most-watched broadcast in history -- something of a feat, given all the options available to TV viewers these days. And because last year's game featured the super-popular New York Giants -- a team based in the country's largest media market -- its huge ratings were understandable.

Locally, the Super Bowl broadcast did very well for NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8, drawing 1.72-million viewers for the game and 767,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 -- the demographic advertisers covet. The viewership, about 41 percent of those who have TVs in the Tampa Bay area, fell behind the rating when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2003 (52 percent), and was just the third-highest local Super Bowl rating since 2000.

Sbtampa09logo According to NBC, the Tampa market ranked 6th in the nation for viewership, behind Pittsburgh (of course!), Norfolk, Va. and Jacksonville -- all which drew more than half of households with TVs.

NBC also moved a press release Saturday noting that all its Super Bowl ad spaces sold out, netting a record $206-million in revenue ($261-million in revenue over the broadcast day), in a welcome boost for a network lagging in traditional prime time success.

A total 32 advertisers were featured, including previous reject GoDaddy.com and online pawn shop  Cash4Gold.  Ad Age quoted NBC executives saying they were selling spots by "packaging" them with ads elsewhere in the day -- perhaps providing spots in the pregame for low or no cost to encourage sales. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:55pm]

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