Super Bowl XLVII by the Numbers

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager.

The infamous “blackout” of Super Bowl XLVII could not keep the game from making history. Besides the drama provided by the game itself, (which included a dramatic comeback that fell just short for the 49ers), many factors suggest the Big Game was a big success. From a very popular halftime performance to an insane amount of money spent at the sports book, the Super Bowl goes far beyond the the game of football. Lets take a look at Super Bowl XLVII by the numbers for some specific examples…

1: According to Nielsen, CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII reached a total audience of 164.1 million viewers, making it the most-viewed show in U.S. television history, just barely edging out last year’s Super Bowl ratings.

46.67 Million: Number of instances of social media engagement during the Super Bowl. That number is up a substantial amount from last years Super Bowl that counted 17.4 million instances of social media engagement.

24.1 Million: Amount of Tweets alone submitted during the Super Bowl game. However, two of the most trending topics had nothing to do with the game itself.

250%:  The Holiday Inn Express Harvey-Marrero, which is less than 10 miles from the stadium, had last-minute room accommodations available for $510 a night, according to Hotels.com. Rooms are available this weekend for $145 per night, a 250% increase for Super Bowl weekend.

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Around the Horn: May 24th

Fewer people tuned in to watch last Saturday’s Preakness Stakes on NBC than last year’s race (viewership declined by 8%). Many had actually expected to see a ratings increase with the stage set for another potential showdown between Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another and runner up Bodemeister, but apparently the budding rivalry was not enough to attract more eyeballs.

It isn’t all bad news, however, for NBC.  According to Fang’s Bites (a website that analyzes sports media), overall viewership for the Preakness Stakes on NBC is up an average of 63% in the last 11 years compared to the previous 8 years’ of race coverage on ABC.  NBC should also expect to see a nice boost for its coverage of the Belmont Stakes.  Interest in the race has spiked as I’ll Have Another pursues the coveted Triple Crown.  According to USA Today, since 2000, the eight Belmont races without a Triple Crown candidate averaged 4% of U.S. TV households while the 4 races with horses contending to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 averaged 10.1% of households.  Expect a nice number for NBC on June 9th…

Many have suggested a correlation exists between the National Football League’s rise in popularity and the explosive growth of fantasy football.  If a correlation does indeed exist, should we see a boom in the popularity of fishing as a spectator sport?  Bassmaster’s website features a fantasy fishing league and it appears as though thousands of fishing enthusiasts are actively participating…great idea by Bassmaster to drive traffic to the site while giving fans a reason to consistently interact with the brand.

According to a recent USA Today report, the National Guard spent nearly $33 million in NASCAR sponsorship fees in fiscal 2011.  The same report also suggests the National Guard spent $20 million in professional fishing and $90 million overall in motor sports in 2011 and 2012…this apparently led the government to enact an effort to ban all military spending on sports sponsorship.  If the government succeeds, how significant will the impact be on the industry?  Just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. (sponsored by the National Guard), Brad Keselowski (U.S. Navy), or Ryan Newman (sponsored by the U.S. Army) who collectively risk losing millions…

Despite what is becoming an increasingly crowded space, Gatorade continues to dominate the competition.  A story that appeared recently on bloomberg.com suggests the sports/energy drink market was $41.5 billion in 2011, representing the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry (up 14% from 2010).  According to the article, Gatorade did $13.8 billion in sales last year, capturing 33% of the market. That’s impressive.

Today’s parting shot:  The NY Rangers Gnome (@NYRGnome) started a Twitter account at the beginning of NHL playoffs. It already has 5,250 more followers than I do…

NFL Draft Marketing

You have to give credit to ESPN and the NFL.  A little more than thirty years ago (the original plan to broadcast the draft was hatched in Bristol back in 1980), most people thought televising the draft was a crazy idea.  Critics suggested the draft was unwatchable, especially as an all-day event.  Even those who supported the idea did so with little confidence.  Fast forward to today.  This year, ESPN will spend three days covering the draft, much of it during prime time. The NFL Network will also be broadcasting the event live.  The NFL Network set a draft viewership record last year, averaging nearly 570,000 viewers for its three-day coverage while ESPN averaged nearly 3 million viewers during the same span, according to the Sports Business Journal.  But here’s the thing…the NFL and ESPN are no longer the only brands looking to cash in.

Given the competitive nature of the shoe and apparel business, the number of fans tuning in for the draft provides an excellent platform for footwear and apparel companies like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Under Armour to showcase their brands.  Notably absent this year, however, will be the Reebok logo on the hats worn by players as they take the stage when their names have been called.  Reebok’s deal with the NFL recently expired and New Era becomes the official on-field cap for the league.  New Era hasn’t wasted any time leveraging the partnership with the league, recently rolling out newly designed draft day caps on the company Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Nike will take over the exclusive uniform rights.  The news of tweaks to uniform designs and fabric technology came with much fanfare, and the company’s “reveal” event created a lot of chatter.  However, the brand announced at the event that new jerseys would not be available for purchase until draft day.  Nobody generates buzz and manufactures demand like the ever opportunistic swoosh.

Never one to stand idly by, long-time Nike rival adidas invested in a lucrative endorsement deal with this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III.  RG3, as he’s also known, is expected to go second overall in the draft to the Washington Redskins (the Indianapolis Colts have reportedly already told Andrew Luck they plan to select him with the number one pick).  You can bet adidas will be doing all they can throughout the draft to maximize the brand’s exposure via their relationship with the popular QB and that of Ryan Tannehill (from Texas A&M), who adidas also recently signed and is expected by many to be the third quarterback selected.  A commercial featuring RG3 is already posted on YouTube…expect to see it many times during draft coverage.

Under Armour, recognizing the potential challenges in gaining prominent exposure for the brand during the draft, focused its efforts to gain consumer attention by building buzz at the NFL combine.  To do so, the brand developed an extensive social media campaign to support its sponsorship of the event.  That strategy allowed the Maryland-based company to effectively promote the brand without getting lost in the draft-day hype of Nike’s new uniforms or the adidas relationship with RG3.

Coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 26th at 8:00 ET on ESPN and on the NFL Network (Verizon Wireless users will also be able to tune in on their mobile device).

Side note:  Click here to see footage of the 1981 NFL Draft on YouTube…it really is amazing to see how far the event has come.

Around the Horn: April 6th

Remember the two-foot-long hotdogs being sold at Rangers stadium this year (aka the “boomstick”)?  ESPN reports they sold 191 of those monsters on opening day.

Brewers fans will see a familiar face in many of the team’s TV spots this season.  Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the Brew Crew will feature Packers’ star QB Aaron Rodgers in several of the ads…interesting decision to bring a sports hero from a different local professional team into the team’s marketing plans.

From the Twitterverse (via @TVSportsratings): “Swamp People (4.5 mil viewers) had a larger audience than The Masters, both NBA games on TNT, 2 MLB games on ESPN2, NHL on NBCS.“  Am I the only one surprised by this?

First it was Tebow Mania, then Linsanity…now apparently three Giants fans are competing for the trademark rights to “Tim-Sanity.”  Sure seems like overkill to me but not sure Tim-Sanity will catch on anyway…wishful thinking perhaps?

Vanilla Ice performed at half-time of a recent Minnesota Timberwolves game…still trying to figure out if the game sold out but love the effort from the Wolves’ staff to attract a crowd.  Attendance at the Target Center is up over 13% on the season, best in the NBA.