Now, your first preview for this year’s Super Bowl
Rundown on this year's big game, starting with the matchup
January 23, 2017
This is not the matchup that Fox wanted, but the teams in the 2017 Super Bowl are set.
The Atlanta Falcons topped the much more popular Green Bay Packers to secure the NFC’s spot in the big game Sunday.
And the New England Patriots advanced to their seventh Super Bowl in the past 16 years, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots have a big following, but Fox had been hoping they’d face the Dallas Cowboys, who were knocked off by the Packers last week. That would have undoubtedly generated record ratings for the Feb. 5 game.
Instead, it will be Patriots-Falcons, with the Patriots already a 3.5-point favorite to win their fifth championship since 2001.
Here’s a media buyer’s preview of the big game.
Last year’s game on CBS averaged 111.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, which was not a record though it was the third-most-watched TV program ever.
The previous two years had set all-time records. But a dull game combined with two teams without national followings (the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers) led to viewer declines.
It’s hard to imagine another record this year, because of the Falcons’ relative unpopularity and the overall NFL ratings declines that dogged the league this season.
Houston’s NRG Stadium will host the game. The city anticipates some 140,000 people will attend, generating $350 million for the local economy, including food, drink and lodging, according to the city mayor’s office.
Billboards are all but sold out in the area, with prices bumped up in anticipation of the big crowds.
Super Bowl advertising
The game had not sold out as of last week, media buyers say, though it probably will be within the next few days. Advertising has sold more slowly than last year, and people have blamed that on the NFL ratings woes and the high cost of ads, up to $5 million for a 30-second spot.
The ads will be, for the first time, airing live on Canadian television due to a regulatory change.
Returning advertisers include Anheuser-Busch, of course, as well as Hyundai, Persil, Kia, Skittles, Lexus, TurboTax, Audi and GoDaddy, which is back after a one-year break.
First-time advertiser 84 Lumber already had its ad rejected by Fox due to its political undertone.
The game will air on Fox Sports Go online. Last year’s game averaged 1.4 million, a record for a Super Bowl.
Fox sold digital ads separately from TV ones for the first time; previously online ads had been offered only to TV advertisers. They cost a reported $700,000.
As has become a Super Bowl tradition no matter which network is carrying the game, the broadcaster will air a pregame interview with the president, this one conducted by Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly.
Lady Gaga will headline the halftime show. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the game. Fox Sports 1 and 2 are expected to have extensive NFL-themed programming through the weeks before the game and on the big day, and Fox’s lineup will undoubtedly kick off in mid-morning.
As for the postgame show, the network will premiere the reboot of “24,” the first without longtime series star Kiefer Sutherland, called “24: Legacy.”
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