Seton Hall poll: COVID over? Number of Americans planning to watch Super Bowl with others is up 84%

Super Bowl LVII, Eagles, Chiefs
Super Bowl LVII championship game on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs. Editorial 3D illustration

Has the Super Bowl party made a post-COVID comeback? The numbers from a recent Seton Hall poll seem to point in that direction, with data from the last three years supporting this conclusion.

In 2021, just 25% of the general population said they would be gathering with others who live outside their home to watch the Super Bowl. In 2023, that number rose to 46%, an increase of 84% over the last two years.

Likewise, among self-identified sports fans, in 2021, just 27% said they would be gathering with others from outside their home to watch the game. In 2023, that number rose to 52%, an increase of 93%.

“The multibillion-dollar business of sports reaches far beyond the field of play,” professor Charles Grantham, director of the Center for Sport Management within Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business, which sponsors the poll, said. “The Super Bowl is a major event and the impact of these gatherings reach across the economy. For the league, the network and the advertisers, this is the biggest sport marketing day of the year.”

Commercials and halftime

The conversation around the business of the Super Bowl is often centered on the commercials, and the poll asked about the attention paid to them and their influence on buying. Among the general public (22%) and even self-described sports fans (20%), many Americans look forward to the Super Bowl mainly for the commercials. An equal number feel the same way about the halftime show.

Regardless of which part of the broadcast has their primary focus, it is clear that advertisements garner additional attention during the Super Bowl, with 75% of the general population and 78% of sports fans saying they pay more attention to these ads — with only 10% (of both) saying they do not.

“People invariably say advertising has no influence on them,” said Seton Hall marketing professor Daniel Ladik, who is chief methodologist for the poll. “But the Super Bowl is an exception. It is TV’s biggest night of the year and these commercials grab stronger mindshare than any other TV ads — and people seem willing in this context to admit to their influence.”

Betting on the game up 32%

As the ability to place legal wagers on sporting events has grown, so has the number of persons admitting to doing so. For Super Bowl gambling, among the general population, 29% said they will place a wager on the game. That’s up from 22% last year, amounting to an increase of 32%. Among sports fans, this year, 34% said they will bet on the game, compared to 28% last year — a rise of 19%.

Boxes/squares up

On a more informal level, this year, 34% of the general population said they will participate in a Super Bowl pool, while, last year, that number was 28%, a rise of 21% in 2023. Among sports fans, 38% said they would take part in a betting pool on the game, whereas, last year, 33% said they would, amounting to a rise of 15%.

This Seton Hall poll was conducted Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 and includes responses from 1,534 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2.5%. The sample mirrors U.S. Census percentages on age, gender, income, education, ethnicity and religion.