Super Bowl Sun, the Holy Grail of TV viewing, is w/i eyeball distance. NBC (SB 2015’s televising network) begins its Pre-Game coverage and TV domination at 2 PM and won’t “give up” its eyeball awe$omene$$ till…? NBC is bringing in its “Big Guns.” Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show will be broadcasting live after The Blacklist. Fallon is no stranger to Post-SB’s late night time. He did the same live Post SB gig in 2012. Last yr with the SB on FOX, NBC rolled out the RED CARPET on all formats including NBC Sports Network & NBC Sports Radio, with WEEK-LONG coverage till SB’s kickoff. Much the same should be expected this yr and possibly more.


Over the past 15 yrs, 2001’s Survivor (CBS) wins the SB Post Game Program crown with 43.4 M viewers. The biggest Post SB bump/jump came in 2003 with ABC’s Alias which avg’d 9 M viewers that yr as the Post Game Program location increased its viewership over 2.6 times to 24.5 M (after SB 37.) Post SB Programs come in all sizes, shapes and genres. There have been action shows, cartoons, comedies, dramas, musicals and TV reality programs. (JUST 4 THE RECORD, the ALL TIME Post SB Program audience is NBC’s Friends [53 M] past SB 1996. The audience was actually larger than 04’s FINAL EPISODE.)

The NFL is such a “cash cow” (b/c of its awe$ome audiences) that the SB Pre G, Post Game and even its Post G Program ALL attract remarkable audiences. T-1 shows that over the last 15 yrs the Post G Program audience has avg’d 187% more than its regular time slot avg. WOW! The Post G Program itself, actually avgs almost 30% of the SB’s viewing audience. WOW! WOW!! (The Post Game Program TV avg audience of 27.9 M is more than ¾ the size of the 5 yr avg of Oscar’s TV audience.)


Table 2 continues this Scope’s general theme of the SB’s AUDIENCE IMPACT. This time though we look at audience size by going backwards from SB Sun. Rather than considering the Pre G, the SB Post Game and the Post Game Program, we look at TV audiences during the Playoffs. Avg audiences from the WildCard to the SB gradually increase. This yr the WC avg was 30.1 M, Divisional games avg’d 37.8 M & Conf Chmpshp Games avg’d 46.0 M per (That avg is more than doubled on SB Sun.) The moral of the story is that ONLY the later playoffs can beat the audience size of earlier playoffs. The truth is that ONLY the PLAYOFFS (TV viewerwise) can beat the PLAYOFFS! That is the story! As a matter of fact, the ftball playoff TV audience data are put into perspective by the box at the bottom of the 2nd page. (It states the costs for a 30 sec ad & avg audience size for this past fall’s TOP 10 programs.) 

T-2 views the last 5 yrs of NFL PlayoffsTV audiences from WildCard play to Division, Conf Champshp & SB games. The size of the TV audiences for the Playoff games inevitably depends on some combo of football team & player brand power/playing $ucce$$ AND market size of the competing teams. This yr’s WC games were much weaker than last yr’s record audiences (with weaker brands/markets like AZ, CAR, CIN & INDY vs GNB, NO, PHL & SF in 2013). As for the Divisional round, 2015’s TV audience won the day. (It featured GNB, NE & SEA ALL playing Conf Chmpnshp games.) Amazingly so, viewership again, was 50 M+ for the Conf Chmpnshps though the NFL finished well short of its highest Conf Champ audiences of 1982 (when the AFC & NFC Conf Finals avg’d 60 M+ viewers thx to the legendary DLS vs SF game.) The length of the SB Post GameWrap Up” program varies ranging from 21 to 39 min (See T-2. The Post GameWrap Up” features interviews, the MVP award, etc.) 2014’s 93.4 M Post Game Show was a crazy #. Assuming there is NO “SB Blackout” (as in 2013 which pushed CBS’s Elementary to almost 11 pm and to the smallest TV audience [20.8 M] for a Post Game Program in 15yrs), The Blacklist should EXPECT high 20 M to low/mid 30 M viewers for the Post SB 2015 Program. (See T-1).

In T-3 (above) we see the # of times EACH major network has hosted the SB game. CBS leads with 18 SBs. After SB 49 NBC will also have 18. FOX & ABC have both televised 7 SBs. No ntwrk has avg’d more Post SB Show viewers than NBC with 31.37 M. Among ALL ntwrks, the Post SB Show has avg’d 28.94 M viewers! CBS’s 60 Minutes has the most Post SB shows (4).


OK, enough about the Playoffs, Pre G & Post G shows and that PRECIOUS JEWEL, the Post G Program. How about the GINORMOUS issue of having to FACE SB Sun programming if you’re a competitor? What do you do? Go off the air? Go to old reruns? Well, COUNTER PROGRAMMING has become SB game day TV talk. As the other ntwrks “go to the dogs” on SB Sun, how about the Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet)? Last yr over 13.5 M viewed Puppy Bowl X (a record viewership for it [EWeekly]). Also in 2014, SB counterprogramming by the pet kingdom grew to include Kitten Bowl #1 (Hallmark Channel). The Kitten Bowl drew 3.2 M to its premiere & went on to get a total of 6.1 M viewers with encores during the day. Kitten Bowl II (2015) starts at noon on SB Sunday. Then, there is the 1st ever Fish Bowl (“reeled out” by the Nat’l Geo Wild Ntwk) which aired for the 1st time during last yr’s SB. No reports yet if the Fish Bowl will be back, unlike the Kitten & Puppy Bowls (who premiered their special b-4 the game), the Fish Bowl premiered at 6 pm right b-4 the kickoff. Any bets on pets for PetBowl 2015? Who will eat whom? What will the petting/pecking order be?

TOP 10 Highest TV Rates & Avg TV Audiences by Program Name for Fall 2014
Ad Rate Ad Rk Ntwk Time Audience Size Audience Rk
Sun Night Ftbll $627.3K 1 NBC Sun @ 8 PM 21.28 M 1
TH Night Ftbll $483.3K 2 CBS Ths @ 8 PM 11.80 M 4
Big Bang Theory $344.8K 3 CBS Mon @ 8 PM 16.50 Ma 2
The Blacklist $282.9K 4 NBC Mon @ 10 PM 10.10 Mb 7
The Voice $274.1K 5 NBC Mon @ 8 PM 11.91 M 3
The Voice $253.8K 6 NBC Tue @ 8 PM 11.52 M 5
Modern Family $239.6K 7 ABC Wed @ 9 PM 9.96 Ma 8
State of Affairs $219.1K 8 NBC Mon @ 10 PM 5.64 Mc 9
Scandal $217.5K 9 ABC Ths @ 9 PM 10.11 Md 6
Sleepy Hollow $202.5K 10 FOX Mon @ 9 PM 4.68 Ma 10
Data collected from tvseriesfinale.com & Sports Biz Daily. a. Data collected till Jan 2015;
b. ONLY 8 episodes till 11/10/14; c. Started airing on 11/17/14; d. ONLY 9 episodes till 11/20/14

The strength of the NFL programming is revealed in the above table of ad rates & audience size attached to last fall’s TOP 10 programs. The TOP 2 programs ad rate wise were Sun Night (NBC) & TH Night (CBS) Ftbll. That strength is also seen in their audience sizes being #1 & #4, respectively. The child prodigy program this SB season is The BLKLST with the 4th highest ad costs & 7th greatest avg viewership. NBC’s SB programming will bring BLKLST an audience that is at least twice the size of the 2nd biggest audience in the above table. (Big Bang on Mon Night avg’d 16½ M viewers). Another view (save Sun Night Ftbll & The Big Bang Theory) is that most of TOP 10 audiences were b/t 10 M & 11¾ M. Given the 110± SB audience, The BLKLST will grab 3 times its avg. The SB is TRULY a Golden Goo$e laying those Golden AUDIENCE IMPACT Egg$!!! Perhaps, for Millennials, NBC is rolling out the SB RED CARPET streaming from NOON through BLKLST at NO COST! [For more streaming info, please see Bloomberg, Kelly Gilblom, 1/20/15]).

Table 1: Post Super Bowl Programming
Year Network Program AVG Viewership for the yr (M) Post SB viewer (M) Ratingsa Shareb SB Viewer (M)
2015 NBC The Blacklist 10.1d
2014 FOX New Girl 4.6 26.3 11.4 27 112.19
2013 CBS Elementary 12.8 20.8 11.6 23 108.69
2012 NBC The Voice 15.8 37.6 18.4 31 111.34
2011 FOX Glee 8.7 26.8 13.6 25 111.04
2010 CBS Undercover Boss 17.7 38.6 19.1 32 106.47
2009 NBC The Office 9.0 22.9 11.6 21 98.73
2008 FOX House 17.6 29.0 15.7 27 97.44
2007 CBS Criminal Minds 14.0 26.3 15.1 26 93.18
2006 ABC Grey’s Anatomy 19.2 37.9 21.0 34 90.75
2005 FOX The Simpsons/American Dad 13.3 23.1 13.0 22 86.07
2004 CBS Survivor: All Stars 21.5 23.1 17.9 32 89.80
2003 ABC Alias 9.0 33.5 10.6 20 88.64
2002 FOX Malcolm in the Middle 13.0 21.4 11.5 21 86.80
2001 CBS Survivor: Australian Outback 29.8 45.4c 24.5 39 84.34
2000 ABC The Practice 17.9 23.85 15.3 27 88.47
AVERAGE 14.93 27.94 15.35 27.13 96.93
a. 1 rating point represents 1% of the total TV households in US watching the program.
b. Share is the percentage of all TV’s tuned in to the program.
c. The highest rated Post SB Program of all-time was Friends in ’96 with 53 M viewers, even more than the shows series finale in ’04.
d. This # is the AVG views for The Blacklist’s 1st 8 episodes of its 2nd season in 2014.
Table 2 – TV Viewing Audience for NFL Playoffs
Year Wild Card Division Conf Champ SB Post Game PG Time TOT Net Post G Program
Min work
2015 30.1M 37.8M 46.0M TBD TBD TBD TBD NBC The Blacklist
2014 34.7M 34.5M 53.6M 112.2M 93.4M 10:00-10:23 23 FOX New Girl
2013 30.4M 34.0M 44.9M 108.4M 94.5M 10:17-10:51 34 CBS Elementary
2012 31.0M 36.6M 53.7M 111.3M 77.6M 9:58-10:19 21 NBC The Voice
2011 32.4M 35.2M 53.4M 111.0M 73.1M 10:00-10:39 39 FOX Glee
2010 29.9M 33.0M 50.1M 106.5M 75.5M 9:50-10:13 23 CBS Undercover Boss
Table 3 – Post Program Viewing by Highest Viewed Program & Ntwrk Avg for that Show
Network # of SB Highest Viewed Post SB Show Viewers for that Total Post Program Viewers # of Post Program Shows Avg Viewers
CBS 18 Survivor 45.37 361.8 12 30.15
NBC 17 Friends 52.93 345 11 31.37
FOX 7 X-Files 29.1 177.8 7 25.39
ABC 7 Grey’s Anatomy 37.88 157.4 6 26.23
*Both CBS & NBC carried the SB 1967 game, b/c the leagues were not merged yet

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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