Super Bowl LVII delays are expected as the game sets yet another streaming record

Super Bowl LVII delays are expected as the game sets yet another streaming record

There is nothing in the media landscape that compares to the Super Bowl, and streaming video has helped sustain the Super Bowl audience. Comparing the 2021 to the 2022 NFL regular season, there was a migration in viewing away from set-top boxes/antennas to smart TVs and Internet-connected devices.

Despite the growing usage, latency is still an issue when streaming the Super Bowl. Jed Corenthal, CMO, Phenix, said in an email, “I expect 15 million people to stream this year’s game, but everyone streaming the game will experience significant latency or delays – we expect anywhere from 30-60 seconds behind the field of play .”

Helping maintain Super Bowl audiences in a fragmented landscape has been streaming video, 11 of the last 12 Super Bowls have delivered an average audience of 100+ million viewers. By comparison, the most-watched first-season primetime show this season has averaged 5.8 million viewers.

Last year, Super Bowl LVI on NBCU averaged 112.3 million viewers, up 16% from the previous year. Streaming on various platforms accounted for 11.2 million of the total. The previous year, Super Bowl LV aired on CBS averaged 5.7 million streaming viewers. The last time Fox held the rights was Super Bowl LIV in 2020, the average streaming audience that year was 3.4 million viewers. In fact, every year since streaming was measured (Super Bowl XLVI in 2011), viewing has increased.

A report on NFL viewership sources from Nielsen found that for last year’s Super Bowl, set-top boxes/antennas accounted for 61% of the total audience, followed by out-of-home (22%), smart TVs (8%) . and Internet-connected devices (7%). The percentages were based on total viewers.

For men 18-34, the breakout in viewership sources was different; only 40% used set-top boxes/antennas, there was a 38% share for viewing outside the home, a 10% share for viewing on smart TVs and a 7% share used devices connected to the Internet. The declining use of set-top boxes is an indication of the impact cord-cutting is having on viewing behavior and raises issues for streaming. This year’s Super Bowl will be available on among other streaming providers.

“Any interaction — chatting, texting, notifications — will potentially ruin the viewing experience. Imagine there’s 30 seconds left in the game and Patrick Mahomes throws the game-winning TD, but before you see the play, you get a text from your friend who’s already seen it – this is unforgivable and doesn’t have to happen, Corenthal continued.

A recently released survey of 1,000 respondents by Amdocs found that this year, 22% of Super Bowl viewers planned to stream the game, which would be roughly double the audience from last year. Almost half (49%) said they plan to watch the match using set-top boxes. With the game on broadcast TV, another 10% said they will watch the Super Bowl via an over-the-air antenna.

The Amdocs survey also found that 58% of viewers were interested in having the metaverse create a virtual State Farm Stadium, the site of the Super Bowl. Respondents also expressed an interest in a 360-degree view with more interactivity. About one in five were interested in the use of augmented reality for Rihanna’s halftime show.

Helping to boost online viewership this past NFL season was Amazon Prime Video’s first season of Thursday Night Football. Amazon had exclusive rights to 15 NFL games, Nielsen reported an average audience of 9.58 million viewers (including out-of-home and over-the-air viewing). According to Amazon’s first-party viewership data, Thursday Night Football averaged 11.3 million viewers, compared to last year’s Super Bowl streaming audience.

The NFL will stream more games next season. In December, the league struck a deal with Alphabet’s YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels for exclusive rights to stream NFL Season Ticket. Formerly on DirecTV, the package includes all non-out-of-market Sunday regular-season NFL games that air on Fox and CBS. Additionally, with the new NFL media rights deal with NBC, CBS, ABC/ESPN and Fox allow games to be distributed via television and streaming (eg Paramount+, Peacock).

Nielsen’s December 2022 monthly meter report found that streaming accounted for 38.1% of all TV usage, a figure higher than either cable (30.9% share) or broadcast TV (24.7% share). Streaming shares have been rising steadily, and as more premium sporting events become available, they should continue to rise.

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