- Burson-Marsteller's Fan Experience sports and entertainment specialty group released its fourth annual Super Bowl survey and online streaming was the key takeaway with 55% of all viewers and 77% of millennials reporting that they would be interested in a live streaming option rather than watching the game on cable, per a company press release.
- Twenty-nine percent of all viewers and 43% of millennials stated they would be more likely to cancel cable subscriptions if they could stream professional football games online. Nearly two out of three millennials prefer the game itself to the commercials or the halftime show.
- On Super Bowl marketing, 60% of viewers and 87% of what was described as "constant social media users" reported being interested in extra social media content beyond brand’s in-game TV advertising, and an overwhelming majority with 82% of all viewers and 89% of millennials said it is important for brands to demonstrate how they are giving back to the community in Super Bowl campaigns and ads.
The Super Bowl remains one of the few blockbuster destination viewing events on linear TV but that may change sometime in the future as consumer preferences do. A trend toward cord-cutting hurt most major broadcast networks last year, and the prevalence of digital alternatives like OTT services is only going to grow. Overall, the NFL has had a shakier ratings season than usual in part thanks to streaming, but Fox, the broadcaster for Super Bowl LI, is still betting on a large turnout come Feb. 5, pricing TV ad spots at up to $5 million a piece.
The game is a relatively safe bet for brands as even those not interested in regular season football often tune in. Brands get excited about the Super Bowl because it's a guaranteed opportunity to get in front of that large audience but the Burson-Marsteller survey shows that millennials, in particular, aren't really tuning in for the commercials and frequently don't recall them further down the road.
What viewers do care about — and what is arguably the survey's most interesting finding for marketers — is a digital or social extension of in-game advertising to engage with. The results of the survey were summarized by Mike Fernandez, U.S. CEO at Burson-Marsteller, as an ongoing transformation of the fan experience indicating a global trend of consumers being empowered by technology and demanding better and more customizable content.
“The age of the one-size-fits-all content package is over, and the future belongs to the fans," Fernanadez said in a statement.
The survey also found that virtual reality is on the radar of Super Bowl viewers, especially fantasy football participants, with 48% and 71% respectively stating they would be interested in watching the game via a VR headset. And 43% of viewers and 60% of fantasy football players said VR is the future of experiencing professional football games.