Ancillary Super Bowl Fallout

TV ratings for the Pats/Rams Super Bowl game were down from last year.  In fact, the audience was the smallest for a Super Bowl telecast since 2009; according to Nielsen, the audience averaged 103.4 million viewers.  So, there is data there for analysis if one is so inclined…

The ratings for this year were down by 5%.

  • Is that because the game was “boring”?
  • Is that because pro football is on the decline?
  • Is that more fallout from the NFL’s brush with social justice protests?

The ratings for this year were down by 5%.

  • Is that because of the “New Orleans boycott”?
  • Maybe the “St. Louis boycott” too?
  • Is that because pro football in LA is just not a big deal?

Or, from a more positive perspective, the ratings for this year were down by 5%.

  • Those 103 million viewers will be more than double the audience for any other TV program in 2019.

I am sure that we will be able to read various analyses that come down on just about any side of this matter because the audience for this year dropped below the numbers posted for the last decade.  I don’t know why all of this happened but here is the data that I would focus on if I were part of the NFL executive suite:

  • Advertising revenue for the game itself – and for the entire day of programming on CBS – was also down 5% from last year.

One might “explain” that drop by the fact that the NFL and CBS both ran more promotional spots this year than they did last year.  Or maybe, they ran those added spots because they could not fill out the ad times with paying customers?  These are the numbers that are most important to the NFL in its quest to become a $25B per year enterprise by 2027.  TV rights deals pay the freight for the NFL and TV rights fees will only go up if the ad revenues for the rights packages continue to go up.

Speaking of the Super Bowl ads, here are the 5 brands that paid the most for air time last Sunday:

  • Bud Light – – $23.5M
  • Verizon – – $20.4M
  • T-Mobile – – $20.0M
  • Toyota – – $20M
  • Amazon – – $19.4M

Other than seeing Bud Light harp on the fact that they do not use corn syrup to make their beer and other brands do, can you recall anything memorable from any of those brand messages?  I cannot.  That is not an NFL problem; that is an ad agency problem…

Bettor X – the person who famously won more than $10M from the Las Vegas sportsbooks last year betting on the World Series and the Super Bowl – reportedly gave back $3.8M of those winnings on Sunday.  Reports say that he/she had $3.8M on the Rams +2.5 points; I saw one report that said a small portion of his total wager was on the Money Line for the Rams at +125.  His results over the past two years in big sporting events demonstrates why they call it “gambling” and not “investing”.

Over the last couple of days, there has been some debate/discussion around this topic:

  • Does Julian Edelman’s consistent excellence in playoff games merit him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Those who think Edelman deserves to be there point to the fact that only Jerry Rice has more receptions, yardage and TDs in post season play.  That is an impressive calling card to be carrying indeed.

Those who think Edelman does not belong in Canton point to his regular season stats which are good – perhaps even very good – but certainly not exceptional.

Rather than worry myself over this concocted debate topic which will resolve itself once Julian Edelman ceases to play NFL football, I prefer to watch and appreciate how he manages to come up with big plays at important times.  There will be ample time to fret over the HoF question in the future.

Finally, speaking of the future and about football generically, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“A 14-pound 13-ounce boy named Ali became the heaviest baby ever born at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.

“Not sure if he has a baby carriage yet, but he does have a full ride to Texas A&M.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Ancillary Super Bowl Fallout”

  1. Curmudgeon asked six questions before he took a breath. With an approach like that, perhaps he could become a political talking-head. Imagine: a Curmudgeon bobble-head.

    1. TenaciousP:

      I would rather gargle with razor blades than be a political talking-head.

      Most people refer to me as a “bubble-head” and not a “bobble-head”. 🙂

  2. I think the next 2-3 years will be something of a plateau, if for no other reason than the chronic problems facing the league such as Kap, clueless and reactionary owners, the Jags, the Bills, the Raiders, the next stadium demand that a city refuses, etc., even before we talk about labor issues like CTE and the next CBA.

    It doesn’t help that the refs keep blowing calls. It’s one thing to be bad, but another to be biased and some of the commentary surrounding the debate veers into tinfoil hat territory regarding who the NFL really wanted in Super Bowl LIII. I think Brady vs. Brees would have been a more compelling backstory than Brady vs. Goff could be unless someone was trying out a “pass the torch” narrative.

    1. Rugger9:

      The upcoming CBA negotiations could be VERY contentious if both sides do not recognize at some level that they are partners in the production of a TV series. That is what brings in the billions of dollars that the owners and players share. Hopefully, neither side will do anything to kill that golden goose…

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