Super Bowl LIV pulls record numbers as 9.5 million tune in

More than half of Canadians watched some part of the game, according to Bell Media, while live streaming of the game grew 42% from last year.
Super Bowl LIV

While the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Sunday night’s Super Bowl, Bell Media achieved a comeback of its own as viewership hit 9.5 million viewers (2+) across CTV, TSN and RDS.

The ratings haul – which made it the most-watched Super Bowl ever in Canada, according to Bell Media – reversed a trend of declining viewership after the CRTC banned simsub for the game in each of the past three years.

According to overnight Numeris data, the game reached a total of 18.7 million unique viewers. At 8:22 p.m. ET audiences peaked at 12.1 million viewers during the halftime show (with title sponsorship by Pepsi) featuring a performance from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

The game was Canada’s most-watched broadcast of the 2019-20 season and ranked as the No. 1 program of the day. In the key markets of Calgary and Vancouver, 80.3% and 79.5% of people watching TV that day were watching the Super Bowl.

Canada’s lift in Super Bowl fever also compares to the U.S., where ratings saw a year-over-year increase for the first time in years.

Digitally, the game saw “significant engagement,” compared to last year, according to Bell Media. Live stream video starts on CTV, TSN and RDS grew 42% and Super Bowl page views on TSN and RDS jumped 21%. CTV and TSN garnered 4.5 million impressions for Super Bowl LIV content on Instagram and 2.2 million impressions on Twitter.

According to Proof Inc., Google search interest for the Super Bowl in Canada has jumped 120% since 2016.

Viewership of ads online was also up on what happened to be the first year since 2016 that Bell Media was once again able to simultaneously substitute Canadian ads on top of commercials from the U.S. feed.

In late December, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the CRTC’s ban on simsub, officially bringing Canadian ads back into the broadcast. With most U.S. ads – like the much-publicized “Baby Nut” ad from Planters – being uploaded online to platforms like Twitter and YouTube as well, global viewership of Super Bowl ads on YouTube increased 30% year-over-year. According to overnight numbers, 4.33 million tuned in for last year’s Super Bowl, which aired on CTV, CTV2 and TSN. The year prior, an average audience of 4.45 million (2+) tuned in for the game, while 4.47 million (2+) watched in 2017. In 2016, prior to the simsub ban, 7.32 million tuned in to watch the game on CTV alone.