Super Bowl 2020 – Thrilling Game, Girl Power Halftime Show, and Star-Studded Ads

Super Bowl LIV took place this year on the auspicious palindrome date 02-02-2020 and celebrated 100 years of the NFL. Super Bowl Sunday was also Groundhog Day, but this year most definitely wasn’t a repeat of last year’s game (which some called the worst Super Bowl ever). The 2020 championship game brought exciting plays on both offense and defense and ended with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers with a score of 31 to 20. Along with actual football, the Pepsi halftime show and the commercials had the media buzzing. Welcome to AYTM’s annual Super Bowl survey, where we asked 1,000 US consumers who watched the big game for their opinions on all things Super Bowl.

Super Bowl Nation
Some fun facts about Super Bowl watchers

  • 22% have watched more than 30 Super Bowls while 2% were watching this year for the first time
  • 9% consider themselves extreme fans (watch all games, know all stats), 32% say they are mid-level fans (mostly just watch when their team is playing), and 15% aren’t football fans at all but watch to join in with family and friends
  • 26% follow NFL players on social media to see what they are up to off the field
  • 7% purchased or plan to purchase Super Bowl LIV merchandise

This year’s pre-game show was watched by 43% of our respondents. To be expected, after kick off, the majority of viewers tuned in with 79% watching the first quarter, 78% watching the second quarter, 77% watching the third quarter, and 82% watching the fourth quarter. Just 32% stayed tuned for the post-game show.

Home Team
The Kansas City Chiefs were designated as the home team this year and according to our survey, the majority (55%) of respondents were rooting for them. 73% of Super Bowl watchers could be found watching in their home, enjoying the comfort of their own couch. Other viewing locations included:

  • 21% – Friend or family member’s home
  • 3% – Public bar or restaurant
  • 1% – Work
  • 0.4% – At the game (lucky lucky)
  • 2% – Other

By far, the most popular way to watch the game was via cable or satellite TV chosen by 71%. A distant second was antenna TV used by 12%. Other ways to watch were FOXSports.com (5%), FOX Sports app (4%), NFL app (2%), NFL.com (1%), and Yahoo Sports app (<1%).

Hips Don’t Lie
Love it or hate it – you can’t say the 2020 Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show wasn’t entertaining. 81% of respondents were watching as pop superstars Shakira and Jennifer Lopez joined by Bad Bunny, J Balvin, a kid’s choir (including JLo’s daughter Emme), and about a zillion dancers put on quite a show. When asked about aspects of the show, here is the percent of respondents giving a rating of 4 or 5 stars:

  • 81% – Stage and lighting
  • 79% – Sound quality
  • 73% – Dancers and other entertainers
  • 72% – Overall performance
  • 72% – Shakira’s performance
  • 67% – Jennifer Lopez’s performance

For those needing a break from football, Animal Planet offered up the 16th annual Puppy Bowl (with kitty halftime) showcasing adoptable puppies and kittens from around the US. 15% of respondents said they watched some of this spectacle of cuteness. 80% did not watch, and 5% had never heard of the Puppy Bowl.

Star Power
And now that you have read through the first half and halftime of this blog post, we have reached the section about the much-heralded Super Bowl commercials. Companies paid an average of $5.6 million to air a 30-second spot. Is it worth it? 61% of Super Bowl viewers said they also watched the ads. However, 65% of respondents said commercials aired during the game have about the same level of influence on their purchase decisions when compared to commercials that run during regular primetime TV. Only 26% said Super Bowl ads have “more” or “much more” influence.

One thing was crystal clear this year – celebrities in commercials were “in,” and cute animals were “out.” According to our respondents, the top three things they look forward to in Super Bowl ads are animals, music, and celebrities. If you were hoping to see the Budweiser Clydesdales, you were out of luck. You might think about heading out to the Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri to get your giant horse fix. Budweiser instead aired a spot called “Typical Americans,” starring lots of actual humans. To see all of the commercials that aired during the game, head over here.

Best Ads of 2020
When we asked our respondents an open-ended question about what their favorite commercials were this year, the top contenders (in alphabetical order) were:

  • Doritos’ Old Town Road showdown between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott
  • Google’s ad titled “Loretta” showing the Google Assistant helping a man remember his wife
  • Jeep’s Groundhog Day-inspired ad starring Bill Murray
  • Rocket Mortgage’s Push Button, Get Comfortable ad with Jason Momoa

These four ads showed up on most of the “best ads” lists along with Amazon’s Life Before Alexa ad with Ellen and Portia and Hyundai’s Smaht Pahk ad with a crew of Boston celebs. 

While Rocket Mortgage fared well with its hysterical Jason Momoa commercial, according to our respondents, their Super Bowl Squares game promotion fell flat. Just 8% participated and 19% had never even heard of it.

Big & Small Screens
The Super Bowl is also a popular time to showcase trailers for upcoming movies and TV shows. Respondents were most excited to see the ads for:

  • 36% – Black Widow
  • 36% – Fast & Furious 9
  • 31% – James Bond: No Time to Die
  • 29% – Minions: The Rise of Gru
  • 29% – Top Gun 2: Maverick

FOX advertised many of the top shows in their Monday night lineup and heavily promoted the debut of the US version of LEGO Masters. In the coveted lead out spot after the game, FOX premiered the third season of The Masked Singer. 17% of respondents said they had watched the previous seasons and stayed tuned to watch, 6% watched for the first time, 13% didn’t watch after the game but plan to watch future episodes, and 64% didn’t watch at all.

The Takeaways (or Interceptions If I May)
What are the final words on Super Bowl LIV? Football fans got an exciting game that showcased two talented teams that they watched in the comfort of their own home on cable or satellite TV. Celebrity fans saw many of their favorites acting silly, funny, or serious in the ads. Sparkle-clad dancer loving fans got the halftime show of their dreams. Animal lovers had the Puppy Bowl and Weather Tech’s moving ad starring golden retriever, Scout surviving cancer thanks to the help of the Veterinary School at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. At the end of 02-02-2020, it was a great day for all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allie Smith
Allie Smith is the former Director of Charts for eMarketer with over 15 years of experience in the world of market research. Her love for charts and graphs is only outweighed by her love for her whippets. She spends her free time watching Law & Order reruns while knitting cute hats for dogs.