This year, NBC made history by allowing the Super Bowl, one of the biggest events on TV in most years, available online. There has always been a fear that allowing the game online would water down the TV audience, something we've seen time and again disproved by big sporting events of this type. We saw the regular-season clash between LSU and Alabama set records for college football for CBS, and despite their impressive online numbers, did not eat into a record-setting audience on TV. So it was no surprise to see that NBC saw a record amount of online viewers for any sport, while setting the record for most watched program in TV history.
The Super Bowl Online Stream Attracted 2.1 Million Viewers
The Super Bowl hit 2.1 million viewers online, which destroyed the previous record for a live sporting event on the web, which was the BYU-Florida first round NCAA tournament clash on CBS that attracted 1.1 million viewers back in 2010. Of course, this was a goldmine Super Bowl for NBC in that they got two huge market teams playing in a rematch of a game that is recognized as one of the best Super Bowls ever played.
The good news for NBC is that the 2.1 million viewers just added to the already record-breaking 111.3 million viewers that the game attracted on TV. So, once again, the myth that online viewing will significantly hurt the TV audience has been debunked. As should be readily apparent, people are either watching their online feed while watching the game on TV or people who don't have access to the game are watching it on their mobile devices.
Obviously, we'll get some different data over the next few years. I'm just waiting for that lackluster matchup to be shown online and all those "Online Viewers Eat Into National TV Audience" articles that are going to follow. I'd like to preempt that discussion by saying that won't be true, but that won't stop some networks from making that claim.
Anyway, great numbers for NBC on this Super Bowl and fantastic news for future events being available online.