- 11 Febbraio 2022

What’s Trending Leading Up to the Super Bowl: A National and Local Story of Momentum

Courtney Gursky
Courtney Gursky
Senior Marketing Content Specialist
Comscore
Madison Busick
Madison Busick
Senior Marketing Associate
Comscore

The blockbuster spectacle that is Super Bowl LVI is gaining momentum on both the national and local levels leading up to the game. The Super Bowl is one of those rare moments in time that blends sports, entertainment, media, and advertising in its peak championship form. This makes it such a unique beast for the media and advertising industry to dissect and use to inform efforts, understand audience behaviors, spot social trends, and more. 

In this blog, we present national and local trends in the TV and social space using data from Comscore  TV National, Comscore TV Local, and Comscore  Social Media Measurement

NFL Reigns Supreme on National TV 

We’ve seen blockbuster national TV ratings and viewership numbers for NFL games over the past few weeks during the playoffs.

Topping the charts, the NFC Championship Game reached over 35 million viewers with an audience share of 47.9%. In comparison, the next closest non-sports related program on National TV only reached 21.4% of viewers. Additionally, when looking at last year’s numbers, the 2021 NFC Championship Game only reached an average audience of 32,366,867 viewers, indicating a substantial increase in viewership and engagement this year. Other high-ranking games for this year’s playoffs included the AFC Championship Game and the Buffalo Bills vs. The Kansas City Chiefs. 

TV: National Rankers / big games 

Game  Station/Network  Average Audience 
NFC Championship Game 1/30: San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams  FOX  35,943,150 
AFC Divisional Playoff Game 1/23: Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs  CBS  35,166,695 
AFC Championship Game 1/30: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs  CBS  34,956,799 
NFC Wild Card Game 1/16: San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys  CBS  31,911,933 
NFL Playoff Game 1/23: Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers   NBC  31,690,153 
NFC Playoff Game 1/22: San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers  FOX  29,463,047 
AFC Divisional Playoff Game 1/22: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans  CBS  25,844,999 
NFL Playoff Game 1/16: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs  NBC  25,162,313 
AFC Wild Card Game 1/15: New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills  CBS  24,884,837 
NFL Playoff Game 1/15: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals  NBC  24,643,555 

Source: Comscore TV National, Jan 1 – Feb 1, 2022, U.S.  

All the Buzz on Social 

NFL content doesn’t just dominate the TV space; it’s huge on social media as well. In January 2022, content from the league and its associated teams and pages were responsible for 9% of all engagements on social media content from media companies with 339 million likes, comments, shares, and retweets. The only media companies to beat this number in January were the Walt Disney Company and the NBA.  

Mentions of the big game itself hit 16 million in the first 8 days of February, and we’re expecting it to continue to grow as we approach the Sunday broadcast. 

Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles 

While the game itself is likely to be down to the wire, on social the Bengals are dominating, with nearly twice the overall social media engagement of the Rams so far in February. This is even as the Rams posted twice as much content as the Bengals and has slightly more fans and followers. Cincinnati wasn’t a favorite to make it to the big game and hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1988, so the fact that they did created excitement among fans which resulted in big engagement numbers. 
 

Cincinnati vs Los Angeles Actions Audience Content

  

The Rams, however, take the lead when it comes to social video views, with three times the views on YouTube and 1.5 times the views on Twitter and Facebook than the Bengals. 

 

Cincinnati vs Los Angeles Video Views

  

Local TV: A Tale of Two Cities  

Leading up to the big game, it’s no surprise that droves of sports fans tuned into the playoffs from both the representative teams’ cities of Cincinnati and Los Angeles. The NFC Championship Game sealed the deal for the Rams with an audience of over 1 million viewers watching from their homes in Los Angeles. Meanwhile in Ohio, over 348,000 Cincinnati sports fans were no doubt glued to their TV screens as the Bengals upset Kansas City to advance to the Super Bowl.  

Even though Cincinnati had roughly a third of the viewers LA did, this is still an impressive showing for the Queen City, as Los Angeles is almost 13 times larger than the Cincinnati market. Both cities were also highly engaged in all the playoff games in January. 

Los Angeles Big Games 

Game  Station/Network  Average Audience 
NFC Championship Game 1/30: San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams  KTTV FOX  1,525,903 
NFL Playoff Game 1/23: Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  KNBC (NBC)  1,322,395 
AFC Championship Game 1/30: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs  KCBS (CBS)  1,227,012 
AFC Divisional Playoff Game 1/23: Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs  KCBS (CBS)  1,177,096  
NFC Wild Card Game 1/16: San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys   KCBS (CBS)  1,116,303  

Source: Comscore TV Local, Jan 1 – Feb 1, 2022, Los Angeles, CA, U.S. 

Cincinnati Big Games 

Game  Station/Network  Average Audience 
AFC Divisional Playoff Game 1/22: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans  WKRC (CBS)  389,609 
NFL Wild Card Game 1/15: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals  WLWT (NBC)  380,398 
AFC Divisional Playoff Game 1/23: Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs  WKRC (CBS)  374,296 
AFC Championship Game 1/30: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs  WKRC (CBS)  350,996 
NFL Divisional Playoff Game 1/23: Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  WLWT (NBC)  314,050 

Source: Comscore TV Local, Jan 1 – Feb 1, 2022, Cincinnati, OH, U.S. 

TV Viewership Soars in Local Markets 

Of course, Los Angeles and Cincinnati weren’t the only cities to tune into the NFL season. The playoff games drew considerable viewership numbers in local markets across the country. In particular, the AFC and NFC championship games scored high viewership numbers in runner-up cities San Francisco and Kansas City.  

San Francisco Viewership Numbers 

Game  Station/Network  Average Audience 
NFC Championship 1/30  KTVU (FOX)  1,060,954 
AFC Championship 1/30  KPIX (CBS)  743,804 

Source: Comscore TV Local, Jan 1 – Feb 1, 2022, San Francisco, CA, U.S.

Kansas City Viewership Numbers 

Game  Station/Network  Average Audience 
AFC Championship 1/30  KCTV (CBS)  546,460 
NFC Championship 1/30  WDAF (FOX)  262,855 

Source: Comscore TV Local, Jan 1 – Feb 1, 2022, Kansas City, KS, U.S.

Social: Who is Loudest on Social?  

It makes sense that sports teams and sports media brands dominate conversations on social. The NFL itself tops the charts with over 13 million more actions than the next biggest page. When we look at other brands and pages beyond sports media, entertainment and local TV stations take the top spots.  

Ranker: Top pages by engagement with content related to the big game (Source: Comscore Social Media Measurement, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, 1/1/2021-2/8/2021) 

Rank  Brand or Influencer  Total Actions 
NFL  18.7m 
Dwayne The Rock Johnson  5.6m 
Bleacher Report  3.7m 
SportsCenter  3.6m 
ESPN  3.5m 
NFL on ESPN  1.8m 
Cincinnati Bengals  1.8m 
B/R Gridiron  1.7m 
NFL on FOX  1.6m 
10  Sunday Night Football on NBC  1.3m 

Ranker: Top pages by engagement with content related to the big game – excluding sports media brands (Source: Comscore Social Media Measurement, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, 1/1/2021-2/8/2021) 

Rank  Brand or Influencer  Total Actions 
WLWT  1.1m 
The Shade Room  704k  
Pepsi  506k 
Worldstar Hip Hop  373k 
Lay’s  359k 
CNN  319k 
ABC7  298k 
Entertainment Tonight  187k 
Enquirer – Cincinnati & Kentucky  165k 
10  E! News  127k 

There is certainly a lot of excitement for this Sunday among fans, participating brands and sponsors, influencers, and networks and publishers. While our insights can’t predict the score, we’re sure this will be a major event in both the television and social worlds. 

If you’d like to learn more about how your team can leverage similar insights, be sure to reach out to the Comscore team.  

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