SB50: Strong Broadcast Audience, Weak Social Engagement

Super Bowl: Episode 50 aired this past Sunday on CBS featuring the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.  There were a lot of great story lines going into the big game.  Will SB50 be Peyton Manning’s last game?  Will Cam Newton win his first Super Bowl?  How many times will Jim Nantz say “dab”?

While CBS fell short of NBC’s Super Bowl audience from last year, “America’s Most Watched Network” (or so they say) now ranks a respectable 3rd place on the list of most watched television events.  SB50 pulled in 111.9M viewers.  In addition, video streaming on CBS and other NFL properties pulled in 1.4M viewers who watched 315M minutes of live video content on laptops, desktops, tablets, SmarTVs and mobile phones.

ALL-TIME SUPER BOWL AUDIENCES

2015:  New England v. Seattle (NBC) – 114.4M

2014: Seattle v. Denver (FOX) – 112.2M

2016: Denver v. Carolina (CBS) – 111.9M

2012: NY Giants v. New England (NBC) – 111.3M

2011: Green Bay v. Pittsburgh (FOX) – 111.0M

While the broadcast did well, social media activity was a different story.  Facebook activity was down 25% compared to last year and Twitter usage was down a whopping 49%.  Facebook saw 60M people converse about the big game – registering 200M posts, comments or likes compared to 265M interactions last year.  On Twitter, 3.8M users sent 16.9M tweets, down from 25.1M tweets last year.

The most social activity came not during the game, but during the halftime show when some obscure British band opened for Bruno Mars and Beyoncé.  Not all that surprising considering the game was about as exciting as a trip to the dentist.

Facebook was pushing hard for strong social engagement.  Last month, Facebook launched “Sports Stadium”, a new section of the site that aggregates posts, videos and commentary surrounding live sports.  Unfortunately, the new platform fell flat… much like my expectations for an entertaining game.

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