Punt, Pass Or Block: What If The Biggest TV Show Of The Year Doesn't Have A Live Audience?

It’s February 2021.

While a vaccine for the virus is in whatever phase is necessary for safety, we still need more at-home screen diversions.

And here comes the biggest annual TV event: the Super Bowl.

But not like any other year. What if the big game doesn’t have fans in the stands? It’s possible, no? Would you still watch? (The Kansas City Chiefs will allow 15,000 people for its season opener, 22% of stadium capacity.)

Maybe to amp up excitement, there will be Zoom-like live video screens of real fans in their homes cheering -- kind of like the current NBA.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez starred in the Super Bowl halftime show in February 2020. What if they performed again with no applause at the end of their 20-minute set?

Then think about the $400-plus million in-game TV advertising and another $100 million from pre- and post game TV ads. Is that affected for the 2021 event?



Perhaps the NFL and CBS -- the broadcast network scheduled to air the Super Bowl -- will offer discounts or, for the first time ever, an actual viewership guarantee!

Maybe there is some attribution promises to be made as well -- the true ROI of this media buy now. Think of the very creative ways TV marketers might need to adjust to the live, on-air field conditions of a game with a faux-crowd noises, cheers, boos and groans.

For this, the NFL needs to return some favors to viewers who might feel this year’s football action and excitement is less than ideal. Something on the order of what AMC Theaters is doing upon the return of theatrical movies to their venues -- just 15 cents per admission, which was the price for a movie ticket in 1920.

Maybe the still-rich NFL league will send the usual TV audience -- around 100 million -- some coupons for hot dogs, burgers, soft drink and beers -- in return for good wishes, engagement and some precious consumer data they might be looking for.

I’d watch, cheer and groan -- even if no one hears me.

Next story loading loading..