At long last, Super Bowl season is once again upon us as jubilation abounds in the big game’s two combatant cities of Kansas City and Philadelphia. While the country gears up for America’s marquee sporting event, the question arises: how invested will Americans be in tuning in? Will the pandemic-era trend of under-performing interest persist in 2023?

Here’s what you need to know about Super Bowl LVII, which will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 12th.

1. Interest in watching the Super Bowl resurges.

After a two-year period of floundering interest, the latest CivicScience data show a renewed intent to watch this year’s Super Bowl. In fact, the percentage of U.S. adults ‘very likely’ to watch this year’s event is back up to 43%, just one percentage point off from the pre-pandemic level in 2020. Twenty-seven percent are ‘somewhat likely’ to watch the event, and 30% are ‘not at all likely’ to tune in, down from 36% in 2022. 

Examining Super Bowl interest by age shows intent to watch has risen from 2022 across all age groups – even among Gen Z adults, who were the least likely to watch in 2022. Gen Z adults are still the least likely to tune in this year, but 31% say they are ‘very likely’ to watch the event, up from just 24% last year. Additionally, as many as half of adults aged 55 and up feel it’s ‘very likely’ they’ll watch the NFL’s premier event this year.

2. New halftime sponsor Apple Music looks likely to capitalize on Rihanna’s return to music.

The NFL and new halftime show title sponsor Apple Music have tapped Rihanna to be the featured artist in this year’s show. Once a regular chart topper, Apple Music hopes Rihanna’s return from a 6-year musical hiatus exceeds the 120+ million audience of last year’s performance featuring prolific rappers Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Eminem, among others.

New CivicScience data offer an encouraging sign for Apple. Much like the game itself, excitement for this year’s halftime show is also on the rise over last year. More than half of U.S. adults (52%) say they’re at least ‘somewhat likely’ to tune in for the halftime show, up from 45% in 2022. 

Gen Z adults display the biggest growth of interest, as those who are ‘very likely’ to watch increased by six percentage points to 32%. On the other hand, 35- to 54-year-olds are the only age group to show a decline among the most likely to watch, falling by three percentage points to 22% since 2022.

3. Sports betting gains legalization in more U.S. states – will it help spur more Super Bowl bets?

The legalization of sports betting continues to expand across the country with four more states launching betting services since the last Super Bowl. This year, fans of the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas can bet on their team in the big game for the first time, but their Missouri counterparts (where the team’s stadium is located) will have to wait a bit longer. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles fans in Pennsylvania will have no trouble betting on their team as sports betting is already legal in the Commonwealth.

Will this latest legalization push be enough to factor into Super Bowl betting overall? How much interest is there to bet on the big game this year?

The vast majority of U.S. adults (21+) do not plan to bet on the Super Bowl at all. However, data indicate a slight upward tick in betting on this year’s game. The percentage of those who do plan on placing a bet is approaching one-fifth (18%) of the 21+ crowd, a slight increase from 16% in 2022.

Sports betting giants DraftKings and FanDuel also each plan to run promotions around their Super Bowl advertisements to provide extra incentive for bettors to use their respective betting platforms.

4. Streaming devices like Roku are growing as a medium for Super Bowl watching.

While a plurality of Americans (46%) will still be watching the traditional TV broadcast of the game on Fox this year, the use of streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV is on the rise. Only about 5% of U.S. adults utilized a streaming device for the 2021 Super Bowl. In 2023, that percentage is up to 15%. This could be advantageous for Roku, who is looking to expand in a competitive streaming industry.

The Super Bowl is no small or inexpensive venture. Advertisers shell out big money ($545 million in total ad spend for 2021’s Super Bowl) to catch even a small slice of the massive share of millions of viewers. The return to pre-pandemic interest levels offers positive signs that spending may pay off. CivicScience will continue to monitor these trends as the Super Bowl approaches. Stay tuned.

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