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Volume 23 No. 13
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Out-of-home viewing to boost future Super Bowl measures

Nielsen this year will start incorporating out-of-home measurements, such as viewing from sports bars, in its national TV releases.
Photo: getty images
Nielsen this year will start incorporating out-of-home measurements, such as viewing from sports bars, in its national TV releases.
Photo: getty images
Nielsen this year will start incorporating out-of-home measurements, such as viewing from sports bars, in its national TV releases.
Photo: getty images

When CBS puts out its Super Bowl viewership release next year, expect a total audience number to be much closer to 120 million than the 102 million Fox reported last week.

That’s because by the 2021 Super Bowl, Nielsen will be able to provide out-of-home measurements the day after the game.

Fox won’t see the Super Bowl’s out-of-home viewership until later this week. Its executives expect those numbers to increase overall viewership in the low-to-mid double digits, with younger demographics seeing a 20%-25% lift.

“You’re going to see a Super Bowl go north of 120 million viewers in the next couple of years,” said Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports executive vice president and head of strategy and analytics. “If we were to get an extra 15 million viewers overall and 20%-25% in the demos with out-of-home this year, that wouldn’t be too surprising to me.”

Later this year, Nielsen will incorporate out-of-home numbers in its national TV releases. The out-of-home measurements include viewing from everywhere outside of the home — hotels, bars, gyms — where viewers can hear audio from the television.

Last week, Fox said the Super Bowl averaged 102.1 million viewers across Fox, Fox Deportes and all U.S.-based streaming outlets. Viewership on the Fox broadcast channel fell just short of 100 million (99.9 million, to be exact).

Mulvihill said there’s room for the Super Bowl’s TV ratings to continue to grow, citing factors such as the mild weather across most of the country and the shorter-than-usual game window.

“The game was short, which means you’re getting into the fourth quarter and you’re getting into that 110 million viewer territory, which didn’t have as much duration on the back end as we would have liked,” Mulvihill said. “The Super Bowl has the potential to go higher than it’s been the last couple of years and maybe get close to that 100 million level again, even without the out-of-home.

“The narrative around the NFL right now is so strong, and it’s so positive. As a partner, we were in a challenging place as recently as two or three years ago. The last two regular seasons have been really positive, and we’re back on a growth trend for the Super Bowl.”

 
John Ourand can be reached at jourand@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ourand_SBJ and read his twice-weekly newsletter.