Written by Celia DiSalvo, Ethan Mort, Nate Schwartz, and Meaghan Walsh

This year, approximately 124M viewers tuned into the Super Bowl to witness the Philadelphia Eagles face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the end, the Chiefs were victorious, finishing the game at 38-35. To better understand the event, AdImpact offers an analysis of Super Bowl viewership.

a line chart showing Super Bowl viewership throughout the game over Chiefs' win probability

In the first quarter, Super Bowl viewership spiked at kick off as people tuned into the game for the first time. During the national anthem, around 6:30PM, viewership was at 77M. By kickoff at 6:43PM, 98.8M fans were watching. With the ball in play, 104M people watched as the Eagles’ scored their first touchdown. After the first touchdown, viewers were greeted with a star-studded Dunkin Donuts ad with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.  Following the commercial break, the Chiefs quickly bounced back, scoring their first touchdown less than 10 minutes later with 107.8M viewers watching. Viewership continued to grow, with 114.6M tuning in by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, viewership continued to climb even higher as the Eagles’ and Chiefs’ both scored their second touchdown. The Eagles’ scored their third touchdown with 120M viewers watching. The commercial break after the Eagles’ touchdown saw the return of the M&M candy mascots, after the company sought to rebrand using Maya Rudolph as their mascot. When the Chiefs’ regained possession, steadily more viewers tuned in by the time Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes injured his ankle at 8:03PM. Viewership peaked at the end of the second quarter at about 124M viewers, shortly after the Eagles catch was challenged and overturned.  Although viewership slightly decreased by 1M as the halftime game reviews were underway, 123.5M people tuned in to watch Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime show, which was notable as it was her first performance in years.

a line chart showing Super Bowl viewership over the course of the game

As the halftime performance winded down, viewership stood at 121M to witness the start of the third quarter, with the Chiefs gaining possession. In the third quarter, viewership was defined by the beginning of the Chiefs’ comeback. Starting off the quarter with a 25% win probability and going as low as 21%, the Chiefs stayed competitive, raising that probability up to 34% at the end of the quarter. Viewership in the third quarter peaked at 122M views around 8:56PM, around the same time the Chiefs scored their third touchdown. After the third touchdown, FanDuel hosted their “Kick of Destiny” with Rob Gronkowski where fans could wager on the results. After the ad break, a key Eagles catch was challenged at 9:09PM with 121.5M. Heading back to commercial, Pop Corners aired a Breaking Bad themed ad. By the end of the quarter, there were 120M viewers still tuned into the game.

In the fourth quarter, viewership slightly decreased to 119M viewers, however, the game remained competitive. The Chiefs began the quarter with a 37%-win probability. They quickly scored their fourth touchdown with 120M watching. When cutting to commercial, fans were greeted with a Workday ad featuring some of their favorite rock stars such as Ozzy Osborne. Following an Eagles’ touchdown and a 2-point conversion, the game was tied at 35-35 with viewership at 118.9M. Viewership would remain steady until it dropped to 109M viewers at 10:04PM, around the 2-minute warning. Following the 2-minute warning, the viewership picked back up to 115M as the Chiefs had possession and were nearing the goal line to claim the lead with a minute and a half to spare. Viewership began to steadily decline at 10:10PM following a defensive holding call on the Eagles, allowing the Chiefs to run down the clock and seemingly close the door on the Eagles clinching the Lombardi trophy. Between the time of the Chiefs kicking a field goal to set the game score at 38-35 at 10:12PM, and the Eagles’ last play at 10:14PM, viewership dropped by a million. At the end of the game, 113.6M viewers were watching. Overall, viewership remained steady throughout the game, most likely due to a competitive and high scoring Super Bowl game. Immediately following the game, viewership immediately plummeted. By the time of the Lombardi trophy celebration, viewership stood at 75.9M views.

After tuning into the Super Bowl, AdImpact Director of Sales Rick McGuire had this to say about advertising trends and Super Bowl viewership: “An extraordinary marquee event to complete the 2023 NFL season, Super Bowl LVII between the KC Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, and its Rhianna halftime entertainment show on Fox Network was truly an advertisers’ success. Viewership was 20% higher than last year’s Super Bowl, reaching over 123M viewers at the peak of halftime. Advertisers who participated in this year’s big game experienced consistent higher ratings as the two teams battled down to the final field goal of the game. The combination of a close game and a younger-skewed halftime show, made for the perfect combination to keep viewers interest right to the final seconds.” Rick McGuire spent a majority of his career working at CBS television in the sports, automotive and sales divisions.

As we learn more about commercial strategies utilized in the Super Bowl this year, we will be releasing further analysis on advertising content, yearly trends, and local station data to better understand the advertising landscape during one of the most defining commercial events in history. 

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