Last year’s Super Bowl XLV had over 111 million viewers in the United States – its biggest ever, and the largest viewing audience for any show ever in US history. It was the most-watched Super Bowl ever on Canadian television with an audience of 7.3 million viewers on CTV (6.54 million) and RDS (754,000). This year’s numbers are expected to be as high and may even surpass last year’s winner. Why is it when traditional television viewership is in decline that the Super Bowl hits the ratings charts off the map?
You don’t have to be a football fan to love or even indulge in the Super Bowl. Our home was a case-in-point. Of the 9 people who were with us, only one was actually a true football fan. The rest of the group had little knowledge of (or interest in) the game. Yet, when we invited them to our impromptu affair, everyone invited came.
Sure, I could say they came for my fabulous family and me, but we’re only a small part of why they attended. They really came to experience a live event, together. Human beings need to experience community firsthand; we need to experience events like the Super Bowl collectively.
Events like these offer us collective memories, stories and moments that we can share. And for those who may be more conversationally challenged, these types of events make for real ease in connecting. Last night’s game helped in that it was such an exciting game – even for those who knew little about the game, the teams or the players.
Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with Super Bowl messaging and commentary (I love that!). Uncharacteristically for me, I did not jump online while the game was on. I chose to check in after our guests had left and the game was done. It was still rewarding to see the comments I had missed, and to get a sense of the collective online buzz from the night – including all the Madonna talk (I thought she was awesome and the half-time show incredibly well produced).
My prediction is that as long as the NFL continues to invest in the game and advertisers keep selling the hot spots, the Super Bowl will continue to matter, for people will still seek out fun, live, collective experiences.
Today people are still be talking of the Super Bowl at work, in the news, at home as so many of us partook. It continues to trend on Twitter. Madonna’s half time show has polarized viewers – those who LOVED her act and others who HATED it.
And for all those who did not watch any of it, they will take their stand as to why the Super Bowl doesn’t matter to them. What side of the Super Bowl fence are you on?