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

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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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