Growing Big Game Audiences in 2024

- 23 fevereiro, 2024
Steve Bagdasarian
Steve Bagdasarian
Chief Commercial Officer

The Big Game proved to be an extraordinary event both on and off the field. From first time broadcasts on TV to astronomical social media engagement, the event was a content driver across screens.

A closer look at the approach of the NFL to the event, shows a publisher focused on expanding its reach, from new broadcast audiences, to the curation of the half time show and the content produced for social platforms.

While much of the pre-game narrative for the NFL focused on reaching new female fans thanks to the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce connection, the league cast an even wider net - in an unprecedented year for the Big Game.

For the host broadcaster, CBS, and its advertisers the event was a massive ratings success. According to National Comscore TV Preliminary Data, Super Bowl LVIII on CBS earned an average live household rating of 61.2. The audience grew over the course of the game, starting at 52.1 at 6:30 pm, and climbing to 67.1 by 10:30 – amounting to a jump of over 15 pts from kick off to the final whistle.

Looking at how audiences from the championship finalists home markets rallied to watch on linear television, the Kansas City, MO and San Francisco-San Jose, CA markets drove strong live household ratings on their Local CBS affiliate networks.

KCTV (CBS) in Kansas City, MO earned an average live household rating of 69.5 throughout the evening, outpacing the national CBS trend. In San Francisco–San Jose, CA the game’s telecast on KPIX (CBS) drove an average live HH rating of 55.

Although the Super Bowl is a staple event across generations, nowhere were ratings more pronounced than amongst the Gen-Z and Millennial audiences. The strongest ratings amongst households containing Gen-Z and Millennial viewers were recorded in Rochester, NY (87.2) and Hattiesburg, MS (85). Hattiesburg also earned the highest rating overall (84.1).

Superbowl 2024 - Top 10 Markets

Source: Comscore TV Local, All Markets, Live, Feb. 11, 2024, U.S.

Other Broadcasts

Super Bowl 2024 - Other Broadcasts

Source: Comscore TV National, Preliminary, Nickelodeon, Feb. 11, 2024, U.S.

The Super Bowl may never quite be the same again, as Nickelodeon broadcast its first Super Bowl from “Bikini Bottom”. This simulcast saw two human sports commentators presenting alongside the animated characters, SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star, providing many meme-able and comical moments throughout its runtime.

While it was an untested format for the Big Game, Comscore TV data indicates a successful first year for the Nickelodeon simulcast. The Telecast earned a live household rating of 0.64 - exceeding the viewership of 2022’s Christmas Day game, and falling just short of the 0.8 live household rating earned during the 2022 NFC Wildcard game.

Super Bowl 2024 - NFL on Nickelodeon

The Nickelodeon broadcast sparked some entertaining reactions on social media - earning more than 2 million total actions across Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok from Feb 11-13, 2024 on Super Bowl-related content. 985K of these actions came from TikTok, 782K from Instagram, and more than 248K stemmed from X (formerly Twitter). The strong audience engagement on TikTok reflects the younger audience this broadcast attracted, with the top post on TikTok coming from ESPN sharing a video of Dora the Explorer explaining the rules on holding.

The second top post was also on TikTok from House of Highlights, a carousel of images from the broadcast including an image of Travis Kelce, which didn’t use his name for the title, but labelled him “ Taylor Swifts Boyfriend – Good at Football

Comments on TikTok posts indicate that the Nickelodeon-driven content was a success not just with Gen A audiences, but also for the Gen-Z, Millennials and other SpongeBob SquarePants fans.*


Spotlight on Univision

Super Bowl 2024 - Univision

Source: Comscore TV National, Preliminary, Univision, Feb. 11, 2024, U.S.

Also launching its first Super Bowl broadcast was Univision with an event aiming to deliver the most-watched Super Bowl in U.S. Spanish language history according to Univision's President of Global Sports Business, Olek Loewenstein.

It’s a goal Univision appears to have achieved resoundingly. Super Bowl LVIII on Univision drove the strongest viewership of any Spanish-language telecast to date, earning an average live household rating of 1.2 throughout the evening. Spanish-speaking viewers proved to be particularly engaged through the telecast’s final hour, with quarter-hour ratings rising from 1.3 to 1.6 between 9:30 and 10:30pm EST.

Comscore TV National, Preliminary, All Networks, Feb. 2, 2020 - Feb. 11, 2024, U.S.

On social media, Univision recorded 212.8K cross-platform actions, the bulk of which were on Instagram, which drove 186K actions on its own (Feb 11-12, top 5000 posts). X (formerly Twitter) came in second-place, driving more than 16K actions on content regarding the network’s Super Bowl telecast.

A video of Travis Kelce yelling at his coach Andy Reid, courtesy of @TUDNUSA and @UNIVISION, proved to be the top post on Instagram, while a promotional video by Shakira for the Super Bowl on Univision posted to X (formerly Twitter) earned the second largest total actions.*

The Audience Experience on Social

Like many large events of recent years, viewers are continuing to take their viewing experience across screens and engaging with content on other platforms. From linear television, to social media, to in-person co-viewing, the opportunities for advertisers to engage with consumers have never been higher. In particular, social media has allowed advertisers to leverage the experiential nature of major events not just during the game, but in the lead-up to, and after the event. Many of the ads were teased in the lead up to the event, before they were seen in full – or again – during the Big Game and then amplified in the following days.

  • To make this effective though, advertisers must ensure that they are producing the right content, for the right audience, on the right platform.

Social media engagement illustrates just how much the Super Bowl has become a multi-screen viewing experience. Beyonce topped all in-game engagement in the U.S, driving more than 1.3M engagements within a few hours, between 7pm and 12am on February 11, 2024. Between Beyonce’s release of new music and the Swift phenomenon building up for six months, there is no doubt female and millennial audiences generally had much to interest them beyond just the play on the field.

The Chiefs may have won on the field, but the 49ers owned accounts drove stronger social media engagement during the game itself on the night of February 11 – earning one of the top 5 posts across platforms of Sunday night thanks to a video of their first touchdown earning 145k total actions on Instagram.*

The Halftime Show and Opening Ceremony

For Millennial fans, R&B history was evoked by Usher on the main stage at half time, including the 1997 hit “My Way” and “Yeah!” with Lil Jon and Ludacris. The 45-year old’s performance at Allegiant Stadium drove 42 million cross-platform actions, with 9 of the top 10 posts stemming from TikTok (over the top 5000 posts from Feb. 11-12, 2024).

Earlier in the broadcast, one of the most successful female country performers of her generation, Grammy winner, Reba McEntire sang the national anthem - the same song she was singing 50 years ago when she was discovered at the age of 19 while performing at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma. Whatever her history with The Star-Spangled Banner may be, it was a fitting nod to Baby Boomer NFL fans after the other performances by Andra Day and Post Malone. Facebook was the most engaged of the social platforms on content about Reba’s performance, with 3.4m of the total 4.5 million actions (over the top 5000 posts from Feb 11-12, 2024).*

Beyond the Super Bowl

The event was also memorable for being full of on-field firsts including taking the mantle of the longest Super Bowl game due to the overtime match up, the longest field goal in Super Bowl history with Harrison Butker’s 57-yard field goal and finally being the first big game to be hosted in Las Vegas.

This season has left plenty for sports fanatics, advertisers, brands and pop-culture fans to talk about ahead of the next season, and the NFL has clearly laid some solid groundwork to build on its newer fan bases in 2024.

Come September 2024, consumers will have cheered on the nation’s athletes in the Paris Olympics, the election cycle will be in full swing, and advertisers will be able to build on the experiential lessons of this year’s Super Bowl and emerging opportunities to continue to reach audiences across screens.

*Source: Comscore Social, Content Pulse, Feb. 11 - Feb. 12, 2024