Research Digest

Audience Breakdown: Who Is Watching the Biggest Football Game of the Year?


  • 42% of “Big Game” viewers tune in specifically to watch and enjoy the advertisements.
  • Nearly half (49%) of those who planned to watch the game last year were streaming users.
  • Most viewers watch on the big screen either through a Connected TV device (38.4%) or on a Smart TV (33.4%).
  • 49% of live sports streaming viewers agreed with the statement: “TV ads are an important part of my TV watching experience,”


Every year, millions of people tune in to watch The Big Game, (in 2022, approximately two-thirds of the US population were watching). And this year stands to be no exception. But who is this audience, and why are advertisers so eager to reach them?

Who Watches the Game?

It is one of the few events of the year that attracts both young and old viewers alike. In 2021, there was little variance between the different age groups that watched the game, according to Morning Consult. However, last year’s game saw more viewers ages 18-34 (75%) and 35-44 (70%) intending to watch than those ages 45-64 (63%) and 65 and older (62%).

Most Adults 18-34 Planned to Watch the Big Game in 2022

Where Do Consumers Watch the Game?

With the turbulence of the pandemic over the last few years, the way consumers watch the Big Game has changed. In 2021, rather than planning watching parties or going to a venue to watch with friends and family, we saw more solo-watching or co-viewing with immediate family. 

The game last year saw a slight loosening of restrictions around COVID-spreading behaviors. As a result, 57% of consumers said they were planning to watch the game at a watch party (22%), outside their home (25%), or from a bar or restaurant (3%). This is likely to be similar in spread to this year’s event, during which consumers will still be wary about the lingering pandemic, but less concerned than in previous years.

Where Consumers Planned to Watch the Big Game in the US (January 2022)

What Devices Do They Use?

According to a study from Conviva, most viewers watched the Big Game on the “Big Screen”—either through a Connected TV device (38.4%) or on a Smart TV (33.4%). Of those devices used, Roku was the most popular, at 36.3% of viewing time, followed by Amazon Fire TV at 19.4% and Samsung TV’s 12.8%.

Share of 2022 Big Game Viewing Time, by Device

This shift to streaming devices comes as no surprise: a survey from AdTaxi found that last year nearly half (49%) of those who planned to watch the Big Game last year would be streaming the event. While sports viewers have been one of the holdouts in the transition to streaming over linear in the last few years, the increased access to live sporting events on Connected TV platforms has helped push many viewers to finally cut-the-cord. 

Of course, 49% of Big Game viewers do use more than one device to follow the events of the game. According to a survey from Advocado, this is common behavior for sports fans, who will often use two (30%) or even three or more (19%) screens while watching football, to simultaneously use social media (45%) or check scores (34%). Many of those viewers will also use their secondary devices to look up information on a brand or product after seeing an ad served during a game.

Why Is This Audience So Valuable to Advertisers?

With advertisers expected to spend around $6.5 to $7 million on getting their ads shown during the game this year, it begs the question: why are they willing to spend so much to reach this audience? Beside its obviously huge following, this game in particular is one event where viewers not only expect to watch ads, they expect to enjoy them. Advocado found that 42% of viewers tune in specifically to watch and enjoy the advertisements. And those viewers do often covert—50% said that they have purchased a product or service based on one of these commercials.

Sports viewers in general are also an incredibly valuable audience for advertisers, as they show higher than average levels of acceptance for advertising while watching TV. According to a study from Magnite, 49% of live sports streamers agreed with the statement: “TV ads are an important part of my TV watching experience,” and 62% said they had discovered new products as a result of watching those streaming ads.


Big Game viewers are not just a large group—they are an audience diverse in age and behavior. And what makes them even more valuable is their willingness to not only watch ads, but convert on them. Ultimately, those brands who can afford to advertise during the game will be rewarded with engaged viewers, no matter where they are watching.

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