According to the most recent Seton Hall Sports Poll, a whopping 68% of all Americans plan on watching Super Bowl 50.
That’s roughly 218 million people, not counting the international numbers.
Well, because it’s the Super Bowl.
But given a choice of reasons, “I’m a football fan” and/or a “fan of one of the teams playing” account for only 59% of all Americans who plan on watching.
And, sponsors take note, a full 10% of those who said they would be watching say they will do so because they are “interested in seeing the commercials.” And 18% because “it’s a big event.” That’s 28% (approximately 61 million people) who will be watching and are not doing so primarily to watch football. They are watching to be entertained.
We also know that 55% of everyone watching (118 million people) say they’ll watch the Super Bowl commercials closer than they normally watch commercials. Because, well, Super Bowl commercials have come to be a part of the entertainment.
But here’s the kicker, as Darren Rovell of ESPN notes:
88% say seeing a product in a Super Bowl ad doesn't affect their buying habits (Source: @HallSportsPoll)
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 28, 2016
And this, of course, is right in line with the numbers we polled in the Fall when a resounding 44% said they paid attention to sponsor signs in stadiums; but an overwhelming majority said that it made no difference:
85% of people say that a sports sponsorship doesn't affect their decision to buy that brand (Seton Hall Sports Poll). Too low for $ spent.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 2, 2015
Rovell is right. That’s just way too low a number to be possible for all the money spent. But remember, these numbers reflect what people think and what they say, not how they behave or what they ultimately do.
As for the ROI on dollars spent on advertising to over 200 million people, many of whom are watching for the express purpose of being entertained by your ad? This article in Ad Sense breaks it down, and the number of repeat advertisers speaks volumes– as does the number of new advertisers launching a product campaign.
And ultimately, it’s about brand awareness. You may not run out to buy that product on Monday, but you (and close to 220 million other people) will be aware of it. And that’s a first and crucial step in product marketing.