TV & Streaming

About three-quarters of people who plan to watch the Super Bowl said they’re excited for the ads, research says

More are excited for the game, but fewer are looking forward to the halftime show.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

Word on the street is that sports fans love statistics. If you’re one of them and you’re also into advertising, which we assume you are, you’re in the right place.

A survey of 1,050 US adults recently conducted by Marketing Brew and Harris Poll suggests that viewership could be on track to continue an upward trajectory (last year, the game drew an average of 112 million viewers, a five-year high). What’s more, it found that potential viewers are almost as excited for the ads as they are for the game itself.

This year, 79% of US adults surveyed said they’re at least somewhat likely to watch the Super Bowl, while nearly 70% said they watched last year. In a survey conducted last year, 61% said they tuned into the game in 2021, per Harris Poll.

Football is for the girls: That potential uptick in viewership could be driven by women.

  • Three-quarters (75%) of women said they’d likely watch the Super Bowl this year, up from 62% who said the same last year and 50% who said they did in 2021.
  • While more men (83%) said they’d likely watch the game this year than women, the increase in self-reported viewership among that demographic has been less dramatic year over year, up from 72% who said they did in 2021 and 74% who said they would in 2022.

Ad anticipation: Those who are likely to watch the Super Bowl this year were most excited about the game itself—82% said they’re looking forward to it. But they’re more highly anticipating the ads than the halftime show (sorry, Rihanna).

  • About three in four (76%) likely viewers said they were at least somewhat excited about the ads, compared to 71% who said the same of the halftime show.
  • That order of excitement (game, ads, halftime show) was the same for last year’s game, data showed.
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While 84% said advertising during the game is a “smart investment for brands,” 65% agreed that “there are more effective ways than advertising during the Super Bowl for advertisers to reach consumers.”

Perhaps some brands share that opinion, opting for more flexible ways to associate with the game than expensive spots or long-term sponsorships. TikTok is also becoming a fixture of some Super Bowl campaigns, though ads on that platform don’t seem to be taking the place of traditional spots just yet.

Timing, timing, timing: Sure, Americans seem to like the yearly dose of star-studded Super Bowl ads, but they don’t seem to be fans of spoilers. About three-quarters (73%) said advertisers shouldn’t release their spots in advance of the game (which hasn’t stopped brands like FanDuel, Heineken, and Downy from at least teasing their concepts this year).

While 41% of respondents said they’d have a better opinion of a brand that sponsored a Super Bowl-related event like the halftime show, more than half (53%) said they’d have no change in opinion. And 6% said they’d have a worse opinion.

That could be disappointing news for Apple Music, which replaced Pepsi as the halftime show sponsor this year, a deal the NFL was reportedly looking to lock in for about $50 million.

Crypt-no? When asked about which types of companies should advertise in the Super Bowl, the largest share (61%) said that packaged food and drink brands are a good fit.

Just 19% said they think fintech and financial services brands (including crypto companies) should advertise during the game, the smallest share of the 17 categories included in the survey. It was also the least popular pick last year, despite the presence of several crypto brands.

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