Fox Sports: Nielsen Irregularities Misstated Super Bowl Ratings By 2M Viewers

Fox Sports' coverage of Super Bowl LVII got a little more super this morning following an announcement that Nielsen has restated its original ratings for the Big Game, boosting the number of U.S. viewers to 115.1 million vs. the 113.1 million it estimated when Fox Sports originally reported the game's final ratings February 14.

"This revision is the product of a thorough review by Nielsen that revealed irregularities in the encoding that enables Nielsen’s measurement of TV viewing as well as issues with the out-of-home measurement of Super Bowl LVII," Fox Sports said in a statement, but it did not elaborate on what the irregularities explicitly involved.

Based on the new estimates, Fox Sports said Super Bowl LVII now ranks as the most-watched Super Bowl ever, beating previous record-holder Super Bowl XLIX's (2015) 114.4 million viewers.

The new estimates represent a 2% gain in viewing over last year's Big Game.



3 comments about "Fox Sports: Nielsen Irregularities Misstated Super Bowl Ratings By 2M Viewers".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, May 2, 2023 at 9:24 a.m.

    It's amazing how often Nielsen blows numbers or has to apologize or explain its methodology and the industry just keeps feeding it money.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 2, 2023 at 10:32 a.m.

    Dan, all surveys have minor issues like this. The difference is  very tiny and above all, we should note that the rating system does not measure whether anybody watched an average commercial minuute of the Super Bowl---it assumes that they "watched"---unless they took the trouble to press their buttons to indicte that they had left the room or were no longer watching. People meter panel members usually do not cooperate to that extent ---as has been demonstrated time and again by TVision and other observational studies. These capture what really happens when commercials are on the TV screen---many program viewers leave the room---about 30-35% and many others ---who remain---pay no attention to the ad messages. So if the real average commercial minute "audience" data was available it would probably be on the order of 65 million not  113 or 115 million for Super Bowl LVII.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, May 2, 2023 at 8:16 p.m.

    Good point Dan.   A discrepancy of 1.8%.

    What are your thoughts about Statista reporting 13% digital ad fraud?

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