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Super Bowl LIV receives 13-per-cent viewership bump

Super Bowl LIV received a 13 per cent bump in viewership when out-of-home viewership is included, according to Fox Sports and research from Nielsen.

The game averaged 99.9m viewers in the US for its primary TV broadcast on Fox in initial figures reported by Nielsen and the network. Final figures from Nielsen then revised that number slightly to put the viewership average at 100.45m.  

But new data from the media research entity indicate yet another 13m were watching the National Football League title game outside their homes for a total viewing audience of about 113.4m, giving a further boost to what will already be the most-watched program on all of US television this year, regardless of genre.

The out-of-home viewership occurred in venues such as bars, restaurants, airport terminals, and friends’ houses. The 13 per cent boost in viewership from the original viewership figure represented a small increase from the average 12 per cent bump the NFL saw in its regular season Sunday broadcasts. The Super Bowl LIV out-of-home lift was an even higher 19 per cent for the coveted 18-34 age demographic. 

Measuring the out-of-home viewership, which for decades vexed the industry, is now becoming more obtainable data, and crucial for underpinning the economics of sports broadcasting. A half-minute commercial during this year’s Super Bowl cost as much $5.6m, and maintaining or increasing robust revenue drivers such as that requires gaining as much data on actual viewership as possible. 

TV networks have said they intend to more fully incorporate out-of-home viewership data in ad sales for the 2020 NFL season.

In addition, gaining a fuller picture on sports viewership will aid each major league as they go to market with their rights. The NFL and Major League Baseball are each approaching a new rights cycle with some current deals expiring in 2021 and 2022.