You’ve probably gotten at least a little tired of reading the phrase “____ will look a little different this year” as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, but there’s no question that this newfound cliché will hold true with Super Bowl LV.
The Big Game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend will only have 22,000 people in the stands, about a third of the arena’s capacity. And many top-flight advertisers — including yearly Super Bowl stalwarts like Coke, Pepsi, and Budweiser — have bowed out in favor of promoting vaccine awareness.
CivicScience surveyed thousands of Americans in January about their plans and predictions for Super Bowl LV:
Super Bowl LIV drew 102 million viewers in the U.S. last year, according to Variety, but if CivicScience data bear out, that number will decline this year.
In 2020 surveying, just 31% of Americans (ages 13+) said they were “not at all likely” to watch the Super Bowl. This year, that number has jumped to 39%.
And it looks like the annual Super Bowl party at your cousin’s house is probably canceled this year. Among those who said they’ll watch the Big Game on TV, only 7% said they’d do so at a friend or family member’s house this year, down from 21% last year. Watching at bars and restaurants predictably took a big hit as well.
Super Bowl LV is coming at a time when general favorability toward Tampa Bay’s superstar quarterback, Tom Brady, has plummeted to lows not seen since 2015 — the year of his infamous ‘Deflategate’ scandal with the New England Patriots.
So, it’s no surprise that Americans would seemingly prefer a second consecutive Kansas City championship victory over another Tom Brady Super Bowl win. Excluding those who said they don’t have a preference, a majority of respondents said they’d prefer a Chiefs victory.
And even more people think that’s the most likely outcome. Among those respondents who registered an opinion, nearly two-thirds said they expect the Chiefs, known for their high-flying offense, to overcome the Buccaneers and their stout defense.
But regardless of how confident people are in the outcome, betting on the Super Bowl will be fairly minimal among the general public. Only 1 in 20 Americans (ages 21+) say they’ll place a legal bet.
Men (7%) were more likely than women (3%) to place bets. And likelihood to bet rose alongside income, with nearly 1 in 10 of those earning $150,000 or more per year saying they’ll place a Super Bowl bet.
Don’t Forget the Chicken Wings
For the second year in a row, chicken wings ruled the roost as the top Super Bowl food.
Just around one-third of Americans say they typically make special foods for the Super Bowl. But according to CivicScience data, the appetizer platters might be a bit bare this year. Solely among those who say they typically make appetizers for the Super Bowl, about 30% said they won’t be preparing them this year.
This could be due to the lack of large gatherings of family / friends that typically accompany the Super Bowl.
Despite Tom Brady’s record-setting 10th personal Super Bowl appearance, it appears that most Americans will be rooting against him this time around. And some — particularly higher-income men — will be betting against him as well.