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Survey: How and Why Americans Will Watch Football’s Big Event

Written on
Jan 30, 2014 
Author
Mike Daly  |

ADOTAS – Burst Media recently surveyed 1,032 US online adults aged 18 or older about their plans for watching this year’s Super Bowl. The company, a full-service provider of digital advertising solutions for independent Web publishers and brand advertisers, covered how digital media and devices play a role in the viewing experience — not just for the football itself, but also for the commercials, halftime show and everything else that goes along with “Super Sunday.”

Key findings:

  • Overall, nearly one-half of US online adults will watch this year’s Super Bowl. Slightly more than one-half (54.2%) of men will watch the game as will 42.3% of women. One-fifth (19.6%) overall are not sure of their plans to watch.
  • Most viewers will watch the game live. Four-in-five (79.7%) respondents who plan to watch this year’s game will watch it live. Just 7.4% overall will watch it recorded (i.e., on a DVR or delay)—however more than one-quarter (27.0%) of 18-34 year-old men will watch it recorded.
  • The vast majority of viewers will watch the game at home. Overall, 3-in-5 (59.2%) respondents who plan to watch the Big Game will watch it from home; 13.9% will watch at the home of friends or family; and 8.4% will watch at a bar, sports bar or restaurant. Notably, more than one-quarter (27.3%) of 18-34 year-old men plan to watch it out at a bar/restaurant.
  • Viewers actually watch the game for the football. Overall, the majority (60.7%) of respondents who plan to watch the event say their primary reason for watching is for the football. Not surprisingly, men are more likely than women (67.5% vs. 52.5%) to cite “for the football” as their primary reason for watching. One-fifth (20.3%) of women watch the Super Bowl primarily “for the spectacle of it all,” as do 15.0% of men. Other primary reasons cited for watching include “for the commercials” (5.4% men; 8.1% women) and “for the half-time show” (4.1% men; 6.3% women).
  • At least one-in-five respondents will go online before the game to watch a commercial set to debut during the event. Overall, nearly 3-in-10 (28.8%) respondents say that in previous years they have gone online to watch a Super Bowl commercial before it would actually air during the game. In 2014, 1-in-5 (20.9%) say they think they will watch a Super Bowl commercial online before it airs—though an equal number (20.8%) say they aren’t sure about this year.
  • Super Bowl viewers like to laugh when it comes to commercials. Slightly more than one-half (52.5%) of women and 53.8% of men say their favorite type of “super” Sunday commercial is one that’s funny or comical. A distant second are commercials featuring animals: just 13.8% of women and 10.0% of men prefer these kinds of ads. Following in third place (6.1% of all respondents) are commercials with babies or children featured.
  • Younger viewers are more likely than older viewers to say they have shared an online video or link of a Super Bowl commercial. Overall, one-fifth (20.8%) of respondents say they have turned to their social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Google+, etc.) to share an online video or link to a Super Bowl commercial. However, among 18-24 year-olds, two-fifths (42.1%) say they have shared ads via social channels.
  • Smartphones lead the pack for going online during the game. Overall, 44.9% of respondents say they will check their smartphone and/or tablet at least once during the Big Game. Among these mobile respondents, 3-in-5 (60.6%) will use a smartphone to go online (via a browser and/or apps) while watching the game. More than one-third (36.9%) will use a tablet; 23.5% will use a laptop and 5.8% will use another device not listed.
  • Younger viewers will check their mobile devices frequently. Among 18-24 year-olds, mobile usage during the game spikes: 3-in-4 (75.5%) will check their mobile device at least once during the game, including one-third (33.7%) who say they “will be on my mobile device all the time.”
  • Nearly one-third of mobile respondents will “go social” during the Super Bowl. Among mobile respondents, 29.1% will check or post to social media accounts while watching the game; 16.8% will access mobile apps; and 15.3% will tweet about the game and/or lookup hashtags featured in commercials. Interestingly, 35.6% of 35-54 year-olds say they will “go social” during the game — beating out 18-34 year-olds (26.3%) and those 55 or older (20.7%).

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Mike Daly is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years of experience in publishing. He began his career in 1983 at The News of Paterson, N.J., a long-since defunct daily paper, where at age 22 he was promoted to the position of Editorial Page Editor. Since then he has served in managerial capacities with several news organizations, including Arts Weekly Inc. and North Jersey Media Group in New Jersey and Examiner Media in New York. His work has been honored on numerous occasions by the New Jersey Press Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.

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