The mass appeal of the Super Bowl over the years and the hundreds of millions of viewers it attracts each time is so profound that mass behavior can be tracked by utility companies. Similar trends can also be found by examining network usage during the NFL's championship game. Furthermore, these trends seem unaffected in spite of Super Bowls XLVI and XLVII being made available for streaming.
Super Bowl XLVI was a close matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots that went down to the last minute in a 21-17 Giants win.
According to New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, Giants fans “held it in” until after the game when toilet use spiked 13 percent. It was so noticeable, the water level in the 30-foot-deep Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers dropped by two inches. To a lesser extent, water use increased 4.5 percent at the beginning of halftime, but significantly dropped when Madonna performed the halftime show.
Network usage is another trend that can be tied to Super Bowl audience behavior, but some of the results are not what most would expect.
For the second straight Super Bowl, the game was available for streaming, but that appeared to have little effect on network traffic, which decreased by 15 percent at kickoff time when compared to an average Sunday. The phenomenon is known to many as the “Super Dip.”
That's not to say that network usage wasn't affected at all. Three percent of all network traffic came from streaming the game, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of Super Bowl fans watch the game the way they always have-- on broadcast television.
Other trends can be spotted by looking at the streaming usage pattern during Super Bowl XLVII, between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Spikes in usage occurred during the opening kickoff. As the Ravens took a significant early lead, 21-6 at halftime, network traffic decreased in reaction to a possible Baltimore rout.
The halftime show performed by Beyonce brought traffic up a little, only to see it dip again during the infamous 34-minute blackout.
The blackout appeared to be healing salve for the 49ers, which mounted an impressive comeback effort before coming up short in a 34-31 loss to the Ravens.
Whether you were a nervous Ravens fan hoping for your team to hold on or a 49ers fan hoping for a Montana-esque comeback, streaming spiked for the last half of the game.
While technology has advanced to the point that smartphones are starting to replace traditional electronics such as television sets, it appears that most audiences still watch certain events the same way they always have.
Just as the Super Bowl inspires interesting proposition bets, an interesting bet would be the over/under on the number of years before mobile devices dominate viewership of events like the Super Bowl. It appears that those choosing the “under” will be out some beer money.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey