All of us here at the Loughlin/Michaels Group love sports. So it’s worth stating the obvious that Super Bowl XLIV, even though it was almost a month ago, did make television history. Not only was it the most watched Super Bowl ever, it was the most-watched program of any kind with 106.5 million viewers, breaking the 27-year record of 105.97 million held by M*A*S*H.
Now some experts may argue the reason for the record-breaking number of viewers was that the teams participating were the two best in the country’s most popular sports league, and more people tuned in for the Cinderella-like storyline surrounding the city of New Orleans. Perhaps an influx of viewers can be contributed to the expensive commercials as well.
These are all valid points, but the NFL owes a bit of gratitude to the world of social media too. For example, the league’s NFL.com website actually allowed fans to vote (which counted for 20 percent of the final vote) for the game’s MVP. During Media Day, Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocino and a host of other players on teams not in the game covered Media Day for a mock media network and posted content on Twitter and Facebook (not to mention the flood of status updates congratulating the Saints once they won).
Take this article from former NBA player Jalen Rose. He predicted days before the game eight different ways social media would play a role in this year’s game, and also including commercials. Brand Week’s Elaine Wong points out companies looking to place ads such as Boost Mobile during the game can reduce their air-time cost by forwarding viewers to their website.
This coming Sunday happens to be the Closing Ceremony for the Winter Olympics, another sports-related event recently impacted by social media as we mentioned last month. The International Olympic Committee took the “tunnel vision of negativity approach” by placing certain restrictions on Olympic athletes and social media while they compete, hoping to avoid negative press.
But the restrictions confused several of the athletes and their numerous fans/followers with the aspirations of getting results first, instead of watching the games on tape-delay (thanks NBC). Many athletes had to inform followers that they would not be posting to their social media sites and blogs until after the games were completed. Plus, both positive and negative press are bound to happen with the event of this magnitude; a Facebook fan page dedicated to the pants of the Norwegian men’s curling team, and then pictures of U.S. snowboarder Scotty Lago eventually got him sent back home.
Just a few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post on Teddy Wayne’s article from USA Today about how social media has turned the Internet into…well, as he called it “a toxic dump.” Toxic dumps apparently contribute to record ratings.