The Super Bowl is one of the most anticipated TV and US cultural events of the year. The big game reaches nearly 77% of US TV households between the game itself, the commercials, and the half-time show.1 The Super Bowl continues to attract diverse demographics of viewers, making it a highly sought-after ad buy. And for good reason, the Super Bowl generates a whopping 397 million linear impressions on average during the four-hour window.2
Super Bowl ad opportunities come at a premium, limiting the types of brands that can align with the big game. But that doesn’t mean your brand message can’t find opportunities for similar impact when it comes to reaching the right set of viewers. In fact, based on a recent analysis of multiscreen TV viewing behavior, Effectv has found that there are untapped ways for advertisers to reach engaged audiences across content, genres, and platforms during the most watched weekend in February.3 Here’s how…
Remember, Not Everyone is a Super Bowl Fan
In recent years, Super Bowl viewership has declined among younger audiences. According to Statista, only 45% of respondents aged 18–34 reported they were very likely to watch the Super Bowl according to a 2023 survey, with 21% saying they were somewhat likely.4 What’s more is 34% of Americans in that age bracket do not identify as NFL fans, a higher proportion than adults aged 35-64.5
Comcast households (HHs) spend 72% of their linear viewing hours outside of Super Bowl related content on the Sunday of the game.1 Among Comcast HHs not classified as avid NFL Fans (NFL Super Fans), the content airing on the Saturday before the game generates 37% more impressions than Super Bowl Sunday.6 As a result, 95% of impressions generated that weekend are outside of sports content, as households are likely to be tuning in to other programming, particularly cable news and movies.7
Cable News and Movies During Super Bowl Weekend Provide Reach
Cable news networks generated 22% of impressions on Super Bowl Sunday and are a great way to reach HHs that don’t necessarily identify as NFL Super Fans.6
With recent updates to the NFL schedule, the Super Bowl falls on the weekend right before Valentine’s Day. Movies accounted for 15% of TV impressions on Super Bowl Sunday among Comcast HHs which is 3.3X more impressions than for sports programming.2 Movies also accounted for 14% of time spent in front of the TV screen among HHs that don’t identify as NFL Super Fans.6 There was also a 5% YoY increase in cable movie viewing by women likely tied to “Galentine’s Day” creating additional opportunities for advertisers looking to target women.8
Households are watching more than just romance flicks. Comcast HHs spend 1.8x more time watching non-romance movies than romance movies, with drama and action being the genre of choice.9
Consider the Way Gen Z Will Engage During Super Bowl Weekend
The Super Bowl represents a rare time for many different age groups to gather together and tune into premium video programming live at the same time. But for Gen Z (those currently aged 11-26), it’s a matter of where they’re tuning in.
When recently asked, 40% of Gen Z respondents indicated they plan to watch the game through standard broadcast on CBS or Univision.10 Meanwhile, 22% suggested they plan to watch on the streaming platform Paramount+, and 12% said they’d watch on the simulcast offered by Nickelodeon.10
Let’s not forget about the commercials—a predominant reason some tune into the game. During Ad Age’s “Gen Z Roundtable on Super Bowl 2024,” Gen Zers indicated the ads featuring unexpected partnerships (like Doritos and Jack Harlow), evoking a sense of nostalgia (think: Rakuten and Alicia Silverstone), and throwing out the rule book on creative expectations (like Coinbase’s scrolling QR code or Tubi’s interruptive spot) were the ones that peaked their interest.9 Consider this in how you approach your creative production and message development if you want to stand out from the crowd like a Super Bowl advertiser.
Capitalize on Super Bowl Viewership, Save on Costs
The cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad slot increased 27% between 2021 and 2023, and a spot in Super Bowl LVIII is anticipated to cost advertisers $7M on average.11 Advertisers looking to reach younger audiences efficiently can capitalize on Super Bowl alternative viewership on cable movie networks, and those looking to achieve broad reach during the big game can align to cable news networks.12
Advertisers can also consider related live events like the Puppy Bowl, which reached 13.2M viewers in 2023, generating more than 3M impressions among Comcast households. 13,2 Additionally, programs airing directly after the game typically attract strong viewership and can be a great way to reach Super Bowl viewers at a lower cost than traditional Super Bowl ads.2
Don’t let the premium pricing of in-game ads scare your brand away from taking advantage of the massive cultural moment of Super Bowl weekend. By leveraging different types of programming and placements throughout the weekend, you can still score big by reaching the audiences that matter most to your brand, no matter where (or what) they are watching.
1. Super bowl LVII Totals More Than 113 Million Viewers, Ranks Second Most-Watched Game Ever, Nielsen, 2023.
2. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data. Time period: Super Bowl Sunday 2023 (2/12/23).. Target as defined by Experian, Polk, and/or L2.
3. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data. Time period: Super Bowl Sunday for 2021 – 2023. Total US. Based on average of linear viewership hours. “Super Bowl Related Content” = live game, pre- and post-game shows.
4. Likelihood of Watching Super Bowl Among Respondents in the United States, by Age. , Statista Market Insights, 2023.
5. Level of interest in NFL in the United States as of April 2023, by Age, Statista Market Insights, 2023.
6. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data. Time period: Super Bowl Weekend for 2021 – 2023. Demographic: Households without NFL Heavy Viewers (top one third of NFL viewing households).
7. Comcast Aggregated National Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data. Time period: Super Bowl Weekend 2023 (2/10/23 – 2/12/23). Target as defined by Experian, Polk, and/or L2.
8. Nielsen NPower Co-Viewing Report. Live+SD. Share of cable movie viewing by Females 18+ watching alone on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2023 vs. 2022 (Fri – Mon). “Galentine’s Day” is Females 18+ watching with Females 18+.
9. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data. Analysis of total viewing hours for the top 100 movies watched for Super Bowl Weekend 2021 – 2023.
10. Gen Z Roundtable on Super Bowl 2024, Ad Age-Harris Poll, 2024.
11. Average Cost of a 30-second Super Bowl TV Commercial in the United States from 2002 to 2023, Statista Market Insights, 2023.
12. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data. Time period: February 2022 & February 2023. Total US.
13. Originally published by WarnerBros. Discovery. Linear data is Nielsen Live+SD; Reach based on 1min qualifier, P2+, includes all Puppy Bowl content across Animal Planet, Discovery and TBS. Telecast ranks based on 000s.