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Super Bowl Game Itself Drives Viewers

Consumers will spend $12.3 billion on game day-related items

Advertisers aren’t the only ones spending big on the Super Bowl this weekend: A recent study conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that US adults would spend an average $68.27 on Super Bowl-related items. With 181 million consumers—three-quarters of all US adults—expected to watch the game, total spending will reach $12.3 billion.

What will viewers spend their money on? Nearly eight in 10 said they would buy food and beverages—the No. 1 category by far. More than 8% planned on buying team apparel, around 7% said they would purchase a new TV for the event and 6% intended to buy decorations.

With viewers investing so much in the Super Bowl, it makes sense that advertisers are willing to spend millions on commercials—according to Kantar Media, the cost per 30-second unit was $4.0 million last year, and ad revenues hit $292.0 million.

But is it worth it? Despite the attention surrounding commercials, the game itself was the biggest draw for viewers, the Prosper/NRF survey found, cited as the most important part of the Super Bowl by nearly half of respondents. In comparison, around one-quarter said commercials were the biggest reason they watched the game.

Overall, almost eight in 10 respondents said they looked at Super Bowl TV commercials as entertainment. Nearly 18% said that “advertisers should save their money and pass the savings on to us”—the second-highest response. About 17% of respondents said commercials made them aware of brands, and around 8% said Super Bowl ads influenced them to buy products or research the products advertised online.

Though Super Bowl ads may not be the top brand-building tools, their entertainment factor still captures the audience’s attention. Kantar Media found that in the 2013 game, audience tuneaway during commercial breaks was just 0.7% on average, compared with 3% to 4% for TV programming in general.

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