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African American, Hispanic and Female Viewers Help Drive Super Bowl XLV to Record Levels

2 minute read | February 2011

Record numbers of African American, Hispanic and female viewers helped propel Super Bowl XLV to become the most-watched television program of all time. About 10 million Hispanic viewers watched the game, up from 8.3 million viewers last year. The African American audience also increased dramatically, with about 12.5 million African American viewers tuning into the game, compared to the 11.2 million last year.

Super Bowl African American Audience (000) Hispanic American Audience (000) Total Audience (000)
XLV 12,508 10,042 111,441
XLIV 11,242 8,275 106,453
XLIII 10,666 7,842 98,716
Source: The Nielsen Company. P2+, Live + Same Day Viewing.

The NFL Regular Season has seen a steady increase in its female fan base over the years, so it’s not surprising that Super Bowl XLV also generated an increase in female viewers. About 51.2 million female viewers watched Sunday’s game, compared to 48.5 million female viewers last year. The Super Bowl continues to be dominated by male viewers, who comprised 54 percent of the audience, but a much higher percentage of women watched the Super Bowl than followed the NFL regular season (when only 33.6 percent of the audience was female).

NFL Regular Season Female Viewership (000) Super Bowl Female Viewership (000)
2010 6,0002 XLV 51,176
2009 5,497 XLIV 48,502
2008 4,801 XLIII 44,247
Source: The Nielsen Company. Live + Same Day Viewing.

“Historically, sporting events, especially the Super Bowl, have captured a large audiences,” said Pat McDonough, Senior Vice President for Insights and Analysis at Nielsen. “If sports programmers want to grow their viewership, they will need to attract more women, African Americans and Hispanics, who are often underrepresented in the TV audience for many sporting events. This year’s Super Bowl sets a good example of how leagues can build bigger audiences.”

Nielsen data also shows that households with higher incomes are more likely to watch the game. In fact, as the household income increases, so does the rating.

Household Income HH Rating

$20,000-$29,999 38.1
$30,000-$39,999 43.5
$40,000-$49,99 46.9
$50,000-$59,999 47.4
$60,000-$74,999 50.4
$75,000-$99,999 54.1
$100,000 + 57.6
Source: The Nielsen Company. Total U.S. Live + Same Day Viewing.

And like previous Super Bowls, Nielsen data also shows that the age of the viewer matters. Adult viewers are more likely to watch the game, with the highest rating (41.9) coming from the 25-54 viewers.

Age Rating
P2-11 23.3
P12-17 32.9
P18-49 40.1
P25-54 41.9
P55+ 41.8
Source: The Nielsen Company. Live + Same Day Viewing.

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