Survey: Few to Watch Big Game Online

Mirroring recent Super Bowl viewing trends, a sliver of the U.S. audience is expected to stream the Feb. 5 championship matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, a recent survey indicates.

But millions of consumers will have the opportunity. Fox plans to offer a live, non-authenticated stream of Super Bowl LI via its Fox Sports Go platform. The network will provide the free stream at, as well as via apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon tablets, and several TV-connected devices, including Apple TV boxes, Roku players, Android TV devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox One consoles and the Google Chromecast streaming adapter.

As a first, Fox will also work with more than 170 of its broadcast affiliates to deliver local ads via the online video feed of the big game. Smartphone streaming of the game will be exclusive to Verizon Wireless customers under the carrier’s pact with the NFL.

Don’t expect many consumers to partake in this streaming option. Only about 16% of consumers plan to stream Super Bowl LI online, according to MGID, which worked with Survata to survey more than 500 adults in mid-January.

Of that group, 70% said they plan to watch the game at home with a traditional cable subscription, and just 2% said they plan to watch Super Bowl LI on a mobile phone (sorry, Verizon). Notably, 56.8% of millennials said they will watch the big game at home, compared to 77% of non-millennials that were surveyed.

Additionally, 23.2% of millennials said they plan to stream the game at home, compared to 12.9% of all others. Only 19.5% said they plan to record Super Bowl LI, but only about a fifth of that group will do so in order to fast forward through commercials or the half time show. By comparison, 65.3% will record it to have a ready-made option to replay parts of the game or the full contest.

Though streaming is becoming increasingly popular each year, those anticipated streaming results follow the trends in recent years. CBS’s live stream of Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers last year drew 3.96 million unique viewers across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones. That compared to the CBS Super Bowl telecast, which averaged 111.9 million viewers.

In the prior year, NBC’s stream of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks averaged 800,000 viewers per minute and maxed out at1.3 million concurrent users.

But streaming will hold an advantage with respect to other aspects of big game. Per the MGI D study, about 43% said they are very likely or likely to rewatch their favorite Super Bowl commercials online, suggesting again that those spots have some legs that extend beyond the game itself. That’s good news for YouTube, whose Super Bowl Ad Blitz site will again show this year’s spots alongside commercials shown during Super Bowls of yore.

Coincidentally, 62.2% said they will go to YouTube first to find Super Bowl spots, well ahead of a search tool such as Google or Bing (21.7%), Facebook (8.8%), or the brand’s website (4.6%).