Will This Year’s Super Bowl Viewership Be a Touchdown or Fumble?

February 09, 2022

By Rich Nachmias

Super Bowl LVI will be played between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at the former’s SoFi Stadium. Sunday’s broadcast will feature the two top teams, a pair of first-time Super Bowl quarterbacks, in addition to several big-name artists—Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar—performing during the halftime show.

Despite the excitement, expected viewership is still a hot topic of concern and remains very unpredictable. Super Bowl ratings steadily declined over the last decade, and last year’s Super Bowl had the lowest viewership since 2007 with only 96.4 million viewers. The 2021 Super Bowl was also a highly anticipated quarterback contest and had an award-winning artist performing at the halftime show, yet it still did not totally adapt to the changes of how people consume today’s entertainment. The new streaming age is proving to be worrisome for advertisers who invest large sums on commercial airtime during the big game.

However, 2022 is a new year, and unlike years before, this Sunday’s game will be available on multiple streaming platforms. Not only is NBC televising the Super Bowl in English and Spanish, but streaming will be available on Peacock, Hulu with Live TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Another encouraging selling point for advertisers is this years’ NFL ratings. This season saw a 10% increase in viewership from 2020 and was the most watched NFL season since 2015.

Interestingly, despite decreasing viewership of the big game over the years, the popularity of commercials during the Super Bowl is still on the rise. Advertisers are using ad teasers and earned media to build anticipation for the commercials as well as for the celebrities in those commercials such as Pete Davidson and Scarlett Johansson. Research still shows significant cultural excitement every year for the Super Bowl commercials. Kantar’s Sports Monitor recently found that commercials are the third most popular aspect of the Super Bowl, even more than the halftime show, making the price of a 30-second commercial this year at a record high of $7 million. Brands new and old will be making appearances this weekend. Rakuten will have its first commercial featuring Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham, and Lay’s snack foods will be making a comeback after a 17-year hiatus.

Whether you will be tuning in to see if the Bengals can win their first Super Bowl title, watch a favorite artist return to the stage, or simply be able weigh in on the night’s best commercial, Sunday’s broadcast will certainly make for an interesting case study on current consumer viewing behavior.

About Richard Nachmias

Richard Nachmias is an Audit Partner and Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Sports and Entertainment Group. Rich has more than 25 years of experience providing services to companies in the media and technology industries.