Super Bowl 50 audience gets embellished

AP

The 2015 football season included an apples-to-paperclips comparison of normal TV ratings to Internet numbers generated by the Bills-Jaguars stream on Yahoo. The 2015 football season ended with a little (or a lot) of embellishment of the Super Bowl audience.

CBS announced, and NFL.com trumpeted, that 167 million viewers tuned in for the game, “making it the most-watched single broadcast per Nielsen’s Fast Total Audience Estimates.”

That’s fine, but the total audience isn’t one of the standard metrics for determining TV ratings. The key number is average audience. For Super Bowl 50, the average audience was 111.9 million and the rating was 46.6.

Using the standard, industry-recognized measurement, the audience for Super Bowl 50 did not set a record. The record came a year ago, when 114.4 million tuned in on average during Patriots-Seahawks, generating a rating of 47.5.

The decision to make the audience seem bigger than it was obscures the fact that the audience was the smallest since Super Bowl XLVII. But to admit that would be to admit that a sport that prides itself on constant growth has seen only the second shrinkage of Super Bowl audience in a decade, based on the total numbers published by SportsBusiness Daily.

Thus, as the sport gets bigger and bigger every year, the average audience for the Super Bowl didn’t get any bigger in 2016. It got smaller. Which probably isn’t the way the NFL wanted to cap a full season of hyping the 50th Super Bowl in league history.

61 responses to “Super Bowl 50 audience gets embellished

  1. .
    It really wasn’t a compelling matchup, as compared to Seattle – New England the previous year. Plus, the game was a snooze fest.
    .

  2. Why did an owner pay a million dollar fine and allow draft picks taken if his team did nothing wrong?

    Speaking of the Super Bowl, I still have my popcorn ready!

  3. FREAKING NFL…is there anything that OFFICE under Roger the “LIE” Goodell does that is not under handed?
    YEAH we collected data on Football PSI during the season…naaa we threw the data away..

    1) if the DATA proved TB guilty it would have been headline news.

    2) If the data proved that NFL OFFICE failed 5th grade science class…they would…make it disappear like they did!!

  4. Goodell and the Billionaires Boys Club would never admit to “Shrinkage”. I predict that greed will be the ultimate downfall of the league. Let’s see where the NFL will be in 25 years.

  5. “Why did an owner pay a million dollar fine and allow draft picks taken if his team did nothing wrong?”
    _______________________________
    Because team fines can’t be appealed past the Commissioner, and obviously the commissioner had his mind set… Paying lawyers to fight a pointless battle is stupider than just paying a fine.

  6. The Pats are the biggest draw in the NFL hands down, whether you love them or you hate them, you all watch them

  7. Dog commissioner of NPL: “Excellent – our Puppy Bowl shall take over. Who’s the `good boy’ now?”

  8. Lets see…..you had 2 of the worst QB performances in modern SB history and the ratings weren’t as good as expected……go figure.

    Most real nfl fans love good defense and both teams have really good defenses but “whining cam” was missing open guys all game long and “HGH neck manning” was throwing up flutter balls everytime the broncos were crazy enough to let him throw the ball.

    The game was pretty close to un watchable.

  9. For the ratings to continue to grow the NFL will find a way to kill Super Bowl parties and get people to watch from home. Almost impossible to do but watch them partner with the cable companies to find someway to charge bars to air it.

  10. well – if they wanted a bigger audience they should’ve finagled a more exciting matchup and signed better halftime performers and got a better announcing team.

    Everything about that game screamed average.

  11. and an interesting coincidence is that both Beyonce half time shows were part of the 2 lowest rated super bowls over the past 5 years

  12. Kraft took his lumps for the good of the billionaire boys club. They didn’t want another Al Davis (God rest his soul), and most Patriot fans are not happy about it at all.

  13. How on earth would they know? SB parties have dozens of guests. Every bar, restaurant, and coffee shop, with a TV had it tuned in.

  14. Can we just have marching bands for half time ever again? The Ohio State Band is much more fun to watch than that headache was on Sunday.

  15. Just to clarify. This wasn’t the “defensive” game that some apologists claim it was. the Broncos D was great, no question. However the Broncos offense was inept. They weren’t even trying to hide the fact that they were inept. Were they even trying to get first downs?

    One of the biggest plays of the night was a punt returner being able to fake a fair catch and take advantage of player safety rules.

    The Panthers special teams were never able to take advantage of what their Defense was doing to the Bronco offense and really shift the field position.

  16. mysportsrumors says:
    Feb 9, 2016 1:47 PM

    For the ratings to continue to grow the NFL will find a way to kill Super Bowl parties and get people to watch from home. Almost impossible to do but watch them partner with the cable companies to find someway to charge bars to air it.
    ————————–

    You do know that these Nielsen numbers are pretty much made up, don’t you?

    They don’t actually know how many televisions are actually tuned to any particular program or channel.

  17. That “compelling match-up” crap is ridiculous! I personally banned the SB last year because I can’t stand NE or Seattle! I am a true football fan, but to watch those two teams together and the constant fawning of the announcers over them would’ve been unbearable, so I didn’t watch. First time in my adult life and it was okay by me. So, whatever the viewership was this year, so be it, who really gives a flying rat’s ass? So happy for Manning and that’s all I’ve got to say about that!

  18. One of the dullest Super Bowls in years. And with all the questionable calls in favor of Denver, the outcome was well assured. The NFL hasn’t even bothered to follow up on manning and his HGH shipments. It was obvious he was being favored by the NFL. Just not right.

  19. mmack66 says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:03 PM

    You do know that these Nielsen numbers are pretty much made up, don’t you?

    They don’t actually know how many televisions are
    actually tuned to any particular program or channel.

    ————

    correct but at the same time more people watching at home means greater the chance of the 1% that has those nielsen boxes turns it on. and then they’ll inflate that number too to say what they want

  20. “Why did an owner pay a million dollar fine and allow draft picks taken if his team did nothing wrong?”
    _____________________________

    Because he believed it was in the best interest of his team to get the matter behind them, and as such worth the cost. He did not expect Goodell to spend millions on what was clearly a personal crusade. It is a shame how many people think that improper actions are justified because they hate the target and think they deserve it.

  21. mmack66 says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:03 PM

    You do know that these Nielsen numbers are pretty much made up, don’t you?

    They don’t actually know how many televisions are actually tuned to any particular program or channel.
    ___________________

    Sorry but with most cable companies utilizing “addressable” digital convertor boxes, they know exactly what you watched, when, and for how long.

  22. I hope the SB viewers keep shrinking. I skipped it for the first time ever. Of course the NFL would lie about it..that’s all they know how to do. The NFL has become a corrupt organization and deserves to disappear.

  23. They must be counting all the people that tuned in for 10 minutes because that was only about the amount that was watchable. Bad offense and Bad qb play equals lousy football game. Reminiscent of years ago when the conference championship games were the real superbowl games. Boring.

  24. senatorblutarsky says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:29 PM

    Sorry but with most cable companies utilizing “addressable” digital convertor boxes, they know exactly what you watched, when, and for how long.
    ———————————

    That’s nice, but that has nothing to do with the Nielsen ratings.

    It’s more probable than not that the NFL isn’t privy to any cable/satellite viewership information, either.

  25. “111.9 million people saw the refs hand the game to Denver.”

    Wahh! Wahh!

    Denver won it fair and square.

    – Pats fan.

  26. vikingforlife says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:14 PM
    That “compelling match-up” crap is ridiculous! I personally banned the SB last year because I can’t stand NE or Seattle! I am a true football fan, but to watch those two teams together and the constant fawning of the announcers over them would’ve been unbearable, so I didn’t watch. First time in my adult life and it was okay by me. So, whatever the viewership was this year, so be it, who really gives a flying rat’s ass? So happy for Manning and that’s all I’ve got to say about that!
    ————–

    If you “banned” last year’s game then you missed an awesome contest. Two great teams going at it hard. But back to this SB…..can you imagine what the Broncos would have done to Teddy Bridgwater? Yikes……

  27. gotitan says:
    Feb 9, 2016 1:37 PM
    Why did an owner pay a million dollar fine and allow draft picks taken if his team did nothing wrong?

    Speaking of the Super Bowl, I still have my popcorn ready!

    26 65
    Report comment

    Hes not supposed to sue, so there is not much he can do. Other than watch the nfl get owned in court.

  28. Horrible game. Missed open receivers, questionable calls, sloppy play. The halftime show sucked, the commercials sucked, production sucked. game sucked

  29. At this point, can we believe ANYTHING that comes from the NFL?

    Fraudger always talks about the “Integrity of the Game”, so how about instead focusing on the “Integrity” of his own office and employees.

  30. What i dont understand is I live in a home with three people living in it. I had nine people at my home total, but not all of them watched the game, my wife and her friends sat in the kitchen and played cards, so we had five people watch the game. Here’s the fun part, there were people from five different residences there. How does Neilsen count that? I have always wondered the answer to that question.

    I seriously think the answer is waaaaaaaaay higher than the estimate given to begin with.

  31. gotitan says:
    Feb 9, 2016 1:37 PM

    Why did an owner pay a million dollar fine and allow draft picks taken if his team did nothing wrong?

    Speaking of the Super Bowl, I still have my popcorn ready!
    ———————————————————-
    Excellent question. Everyone with an open mind realizes through the evidence provided that indeed the team did nothing wrong. Pats fans are po’d at Kraft for caving into the slimeball owners who demanded a trumped up “make up” call. Those owners hadn’t been able to compete a good 8 years after the Pats were busted, and admitted to video taping from a newly designated illegal location. Meanwhile your SB 50 winners have been whacked twice being fined and losing draft picks for blatantly playing fast and loose with Elway’s and Davis’ salaries to usurp the cap. Cheating their way to 2 SB wins. That team has a long list of upcoming free agents, many key players on that vaunted defense. They also need to sign a starting QB which everyone knows doesn’t come cheap. Well unless your the Broncos and you have a complacent player willing to cheat. Conveniently the Broncos have a two for one guy already in place to deal with the tight salary cap issues facing them.
    You keep that popcorn fresh because already Vegas likes the Pats to be representing in SB51. That has to make you choke on the popcorn eh?

  32. Record audience at the national anthem maybe but a good many either fell asleep from boredom or simply decided that there had to be something, anything, more entertaining than that god awful display of professional football. Worst execution of both teams offenses ever. QB play was dreadful. Leave it to CBS to try and make anything Manning appear better than it was. I hope Manning and Nance got a room after seeing the dreamy looks they exchanged on the presentation stage. Good grief.

  33. The NFL fudging data? Some people love the NFL fudge… Eat it right up.
    Watching this last SB is like watching Mr. Rodgers neighborhood. Didn’t make my blood rise up. It’s underwhelming.
    I hope the Patriots makes it to the SB next year. They are the rock stars of the NFL. It’s just electric the moment they step in. Just look at how the audience reacted the moment Brady stepped in. Sure they booed but you know The Boss is in.
    SB 49 is a classic. Hopefully we’ll get another one next year. We all wait long months for the grand finale. It’s not much to ask for at least an exciting game no matter who are playing. You know… The best of the best…

  34. vikingforlife says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:14 PM
    That “compelling match-up” crap is ridiculous! I personally banned the SB last year because I can’t stand NE or Seattle! I am a true football fan, but to watch those two teams together and the constant fawning of the announcers over them would’ve been unbearable, so I didn’t watch. First time in my adult life and it was okay by me. So, whatever the viewership was this year, so be it, who really gives a flying rat’s ass? So happy for Manning and that’s all I’ve got to say about that!-
    ——————————————————-
    Zero wins in four Super Bowls with the last appearance being in SB 11. 39 years ago. Your bitterness and jealousy is duly noted.

  35. sdelmonte says:
    Feb 9, 2016 3:17 PM

    Slowly but surely fans will turn from the game and its violence. Call it the Chris Borland Effect.
    ————————–

    No they won’t.

    Poor officiating and a duplicitous league office, however, will drive people from the game.

  36. I understand that the 167 million viewers number isn’t the industry standard but it’s probably pretty close. Nielsen only counts the viewers who live in any home because they have no way of knowing who’s throwing a Super Bowl party or who’s not throwing the party but attending one someplace else. So if you have 3 people but 10 more come over to watch the game, Nielsen just counts 3 people watching the game and not the 13 that were.

    Also left out of the equation is hotels. I have no idea what the nationwide occupancy rate was on Sunday night- even if there was a way to figure it- but any number of travelers could have been in a hotel room Sunday night and it seems likely they would have been watching the game but again not counted by Nielsen.

    [As I’m writing this, I just had to research it. According to the Hotel & Lodging Association, there were 4,926,543 guest rooms in 2013 (it’s the most recent year I could find). Occupancy rate averaged 62.2%. Doing the math I came up with 3,064,310 rooms were booked Super Bowl night if it was an average night. So that’s 3 million more possible viewers not counted by Nielsen. And no I don’t believe every single one of them was watching the Super Bowl; but that the ones that were weren’t counted.]

    People watching in bars don’t count but I suspect that’s because it’s loud in there and so most viewers can’t hear the ads anyway or aren’t paying attention.

    So all those reasons put together is why I think the 167 million viewers number probably isn’t that far off for Super Bowl viewership.

  37. mmack66 says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:35 PM

    senatorblutarsky says:
    Feb 9, 2016 2:29 PM

    Sorry but with most cable companies utilizing “addressable” digital convertor boxes, they know exactly what you watched, when, and for how long.
    ———————————

    That’s nice, but that has nothing to do with the Nielsen ratings.

    It’s more probable than not that the NFL isn’t privy to any cable/satellite viewership information, either.
    _________________________

    Cable viewership numbers are immediately computable and available for money. And the NFL has plenty of that. By the way, I’ve partaken in Nielson ratings. Not reliable. Everyone claims to watch half the of television they actually do and everything is an “educational” program.

  38. All ratings are embellished.

    It sounds like it when there is a different scale and system for every program. It does not make sense to have 1 .0 on a scale equal one set of viewer while 1.0 equal and another set of viewers.

    Either people watched it or didn’t and they truly could not truly tell.

    Btw, I’ve never run into anyone that said, “did you catch NCIS last night?”

  39. Poor officiating and a duplicitous league office, however, will drive people from the game.

    Unpunished cheating will be the downfall until Brady retires that is.

  40. Doug says:
    Feb 9, 2016 3:44 PM

    So all those reasons put together is why I think the 167 million viewers number probably isn’t that far off for Super Bowl viewership.

    ———-

    you may very well be right. but the point of the article is that they changed the manner in which the number is calculated and then call it a ‘record’.

    I’d be willing to be that this wasn’t the first year that people watched the SB in bars, had parties with friends & relative over, or even at hotels.

    It’s your basic NFL move…..change the methodology to justify the outcome they want.

  41. The Vikings played the Broncos in the regular season, nhpats, the Vikings lost 23-20 (@ Broncos), but Teddy held up unbelievably well, does that answer your question?

  42. To bad that the Super Bowl did not live up to hype. Most hype the game received was Cam’s post game and Eli reaction to Denver wining and Boynce half time secret message.

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