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Figure 1 All eyes will be on the Super Bowl again this year

Ted Lasso and Succession may have scooped the awards at the Emmys at the end of last year, but there is one show that always tops the television ratings – and it is coming up again soon for fans in the US and across the world to enjoy.

Sports betting in California will be busy and there will be football fans from coast to coast making their predictions for the biggest game in the sport. The Super Bowl will be played at the start of February and millions will be tuning in to watch who will follow the LA Rams and become champions. It is the sports TV event of the year and is a guaranteed rating smash.

Global Audience

The NFL has become a global game. Although there are no teams operating outside the US, there are fans on every continent. They will all be watching the Super Bowl again this year, no matter what time in the morning or night the game starts where they live.

It is estimated that around two-thirds of the American population watch the Super Bowl each year, meaning approximately 200 million viewers. But that is just in the US. Although claims by the NFL that a billion people worldwide watch the game are probably a little bit of an exaggeration, it is hugely popular globally.

The audience has been growing since the 1980s when the NFL first started being shown outside North America. Even just the domestic ratings would be like gold dust for any of the Emmy-winning TV shows, so there is no doubt it is the most watched TV show in the US.

Halftime Show

One of the reasons why the Super Bowl is so popular is that it has transcended the sport. Even people who have no real interest in football throughout the regular season will watch the big game. It is seen as entertainment in the same way as any HBO or Netflix show.

The halftime show is surely the pinnacle of that entertainment. It starts with the rumors about who will be headlining and performing and then social media explodes when the official announcement is made. Online activity then spikes when the actual halftime show is happening.

The biggest musical stars in the world guarantee more viewers and the Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar celebration of Los Angeles last year was a perfect example of how much thought is put into one of the most watched music events of the year.

Ever since Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ viewers have been waiting for something memorable – and the Super Bowl halftime show rarely disappoints.

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Figure 2 The big companies pay big money for a Super Bowl ad

Multi-Million Dollar Ads

Another aspect of this televisual spectacle that differs from any other show is that the ads are almost as eagerly anticipated as the action. Obviously the ads played during the most popular programs will cost the most – but the Super Bowl blows everything else out of the water.

For a 30 second ad during the 2022 Super Bowl, companies were expecting to pay in the region of $7 million. That works out to about a quarter of a million dollars for every second of airtime. But the advertisers know that they will be talked about as much as the game – and see the cost as worth the exposure.

There have been famous ads over the years for the likes of Coca-Cola and McDonalds, to name just two. Last year’s halftime ad break was dominated by betting and cryptocurrency companies in a sign of how the world operates. No other TV show can demand so much for ad time – and that is just one of the factors that make the Super Bowl such a unique television show.

For anyone still questioning whether the Super Bowl is the biggest TV show in the US – last year’s game had the biggest ratings of any program in the last five years. And what was the program that it beat to take that honor? Super Bowl LVI.

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