Why People Watch The Super Bowl: It's The 'Experience'

A new poll of Super Bowl viewers from The Marketing Arm finds that the number one reason people tune in is for the overall experience, presumably including where and with whom they’re watching the game,  the half-time extravaganza and other events going on related to the big game. 

Conducted in October TMA surveyed 1,000 viewers around the country. 

Per the poll, 52% said they tuned in for the overall experience while a quarter said they tuned in for the commercials and 23% cited the game itself. 

A majority of viewers (55%) said they wanted ads in the game to entertain them, while a third cited humor as most important. Five percent said they preferred sentimental ads and 4% cited optimism and another 4% said they wanted to be surprised. 

The survey found that 81% of viewers report watching every commercial in the game. The remaining 19% said they “lose interest over time.” 

Three out of four viewers prefer seeing ads for the first time during the game, suggesting that ads breaking during the game enhances the overall experience. 



Nearly two-thirds of those polled said that they believe people are more likely to buy a product when it is endorsed by a celebrity—a belief that is stronger among Black, Hispanic and younger viewers. 

For the second year in a row, Dwayne Johnson tops the list of celebrities that viewers most want to see in a Super Bowl ad. Others cited by many respondents include Rihanna, Beyonce, Eminem, Kevin Hart, Cardi B, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. 

Rihanna is also the artist viewers most want to see perform in the halftime show. That’s good news for Rihanna fans as she is booked to perform in the upcoming halftime show. Others near the top of the list include Eminem, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Snoop Dog, Lady Gaga, Metallica, BTS and Drake. 

The use of social media influencers in Big Game ads appears to be mixed with 40% saying they liked the idea while 60% said they did not. 

Tom Brady is viewers’ favorite Super Bowl quarterback of all time. Rounding out the top-5 all-time favorites: Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and Aaron Rogers. 

When asked what their favorite ad from the last game was, the top 5 responses were: Doritos, Budweiser, Pepsi, Bud Light and Amazon. 

A major implication for marketers, TMA concludes is to consider a long-term commitment to the game as “most one-and-done campaigns are easily forgotten.” 

And, as indicated by the poll, celebrities work, and social media influencers are popular among some audiences. 

As to whether ads should debut in the Big Game, TMA says that really depends on individual marketer KPIs. 

In sum, TMA concludes, “while the cost and clutter of Big Game ads continue to rise, viewers’ interest has not waned. There is a captive audience and hearts to be won…. assuming the ads resonate.” 

Thirty-second ads in the 2023 game are priced at an estimated $7 million with reports that the game is close to being sold out.



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