What The Olympics And Super Bowl Mean For Audiences And Advertising

What The Olympics And Super Bowl Mean For Audiences And Advertising
What The Olympics And Super Bowl Mean For Audiences And Advertising

Coverage of some of the world’s most momentous sporting events—namely, the 2022 Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LVI—shows the changing dynamics of American audiences who love watching the games. 



This year marked the first time that the Olympic Games, which began on Feb. 4 in Beijing, and the Super Bowl, in which the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals last night, occurred on the same night and network.



The television broadcast company NBC Universal has showcased the Olympic Games in the  U.S. since 2000 (and will continue to until 2032 at least) and also had the exclusive rights to broadcast the Super Bowl—in an evening that the company advertised as “Super Gold Sunday.”



Now 10 days into the Olympics and on the morning after the biggest night for American football, NBC has been reporting historically dismal viewership for the former and hoping to have drawn an audience of more than 100 million for the latter.



An average of nearly 10 million people watched the first four days of the Olympics television coverage, a more than 50% decrease from the last Winter Games in 2018, according to the audience measurement firm Nielsen.




The analytics firm PredictHQ projected that 117 million people could have tuned into the television coverage of the 2022 Super Bowl on NBC, compared to the 96.4 million viewers who watched when CBS broadcast it last year. Notably, both the Olympics and Super Bowl have scored record engagement via digital viewing on streaming platforms and across social media channels this year.




The audiences tuning into the events are subjected not only to the sports themselves but also companies’ top-tier television and digital advertising.

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Worldwide, this year is likely to see overall ad spending surge approximately 10%, a strong cycle supported by major sporting events like the Beijing Winter Olympics but with growth still slower than the recovery in 2021, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.




Historically, cable advertising has maintained a slice of the market, expanding from 6% of the market in 1999 to 14% in 2019, while digital advertising grew from 2% of ad revenue in 1999 to 42% over the next decade. While advertising in traditional media has likely already reached pre-pandemic levels, major U.S. media companies are expected to spend over $100 billion on content just in 2022, according to S&P Global Ratings.





For the Super Bowl specifically, NBC announced earlier this month that it had sold all of its in-game ad units, with some exceeding $7 million per 30-second spot, that premiered across all of its digital properties: its NBC channels, Peacock streaming service, and Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo. Last night, Telemundo became the first-ever Spanish-language broadcast network to air a Super Bowl.




Beyond viewership and advertisement, the outcomes of sporting events can spur other market movements.



Over the past 55 years, the median combined final score of each Super Bowl football game in the U.S. has totaled 46 points—and when the teams in the Super Bowl combined to score at least 46 points, the stock market has returned 15.9% on average, based on 29 years of activity, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Comparatively, the average market return if the Super Bowl’s final combined score was less than 46 has been 8.2%.