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Super Bowl (By the Numbers)

NBCUNIVERSAL, Comcast Get in Motion for the Big Game 1/26/2015 8:00 AM Eastern

The upcoming Super Bowl XLIX will be more than just a Big Game for Comcast and its programming arm, NBCUniversal.

 

NBC Sports has the rights to the National Football League championship, and the Feb. 1 matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots could very well set records of all kinds, including a new U.S. TV audience mark. Herewith, the Big Game in numerical form:

 

$4.5 Million for 30 Seconds: The mark to beat is 112.2 million (live-plus-same-day) viewers for Fox’s telecast of Seattle’s 43-8 destruction of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII.

 

Even if the Patriots’s “deflategate” scandal somewhat punctures interest, the game will be the top telecast of 2015. Commercials in the Peacock Network’s broadcast have sold in the $4.4 million to $4.5 million range, a record for 30-second units.

 

Part of Comcast-Spectacor, Global Spectrum manages the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., site of the contest.

 

In addition to watching the linear telecast via TVs, computers and tablets, Comcast’s Xfinity customers can check out 30-minute highlights of all prior Super Bowls on its on-demand service, while the operator’s X1 sports app will furnish live stats throughout the championship telecast.

 

Touting its own capabilities and underlining the industry’s push into TV Everywhere, NBC is opening up a live stream for 11 hours to spur authentication.

 

Super Bowl XLIX is also the defining moment for what will be a transformational day for Spanish-language cable service mun2, which on Feb. 1 morphs into NBC Universo.

 

11 Hours: NBCU will kick off “Super Stream Sunday,” a TV everywhere tout showcasing 11 continuous hours of NBC content, culminating in the game and the midseason debut of James Spader-starrer The Blacklist.

 

Open to all, consumers won’t have to log in to access NBC Sports Live Extra for tablets and Web browsers or NBC.com. (Verizon Wireless has NFL live-streaming rights on smartphones for the pregame, the Super Bowl and postgame fare.) Users, though, will “receive consistent messaging in and around the experience about the ease of authenticating after the end of The Blacklist.”

 

Although it’s hard to predict the amount of streaming traffic NBC will need to handle — NBC Sports Live Extra’s stream of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, 2012, tackled 2.105 million unique visitors — the programmer said it has given itself plenty of headroom to deal with the anticipated surge.

 

“A lot of the Super Bowl consumption will be driven by the competitiveness of the game,” Rick Cordella, NBC Sports Group’s senior vice president and general manager, digital media, said. “If you have a close game there toward the end of the fourth quarter, you’re going to do some pretty heady numbers. But from a technological perspective, we’re ready for a massive amount of traffic,” he added, noting that the adaptive bit rate streams for the game will offer resolutions of up to 720p HD. “We’re well-versed and well-equipped to handle these peak streaming concurrencies, but we’re doubling down our efforts and making sure we have backup plans.”

 

The free stream of Pats-Seahawks carries a separate ad load than the linear presentation, but those going OTT won’t miss any of the TV spots.

 

Ahead of the matchup on Sunday, Feb. 1, NBC Sports Digital has launched a Super Bowl NBC Sports Tumblr page that will showcase the big game’s TV ads immediately after they air on the broadcast network. At press time, it featured some original fare from the NBC Sports marketing team and classic commercials from past Super Bowls, including the Ray Charles Diet Pepsi spot from 1990.

 

20 Nets, 50+ Websites, 200 Affilliates, 400 Radio Stations: Marshalling resources, the programer is deploying a spate of tactics, making the game a priority via NBCU Symphony, the company’s effort to aggregate and maximize promotion across all of its owned platforms.

 

“We are using the full force of America’s largest media company to market the Super Bowl,” said John Miller, NBC Sports Group CMO. “All parts of the company, including two broadcast networks (NBC and Telemundo), 18 cable networks, 50-plus websites, and the assets of Comcast will all work together to make this an unprecedented television event.”

 

Heading into the last week before the game, NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, E!, Bravo, Golf Channel, Telemundo, mun2 (prior to its conversion), Oxygen, The Weather Channel, Esquire, Chiller, Syfy and Universal HD are all now airing 60-, 30- and 15-second ads.

 

Locally, Super Bowl XLIX 30-second spots have been created to run on 200 NBC affiliates nationwide, while units are airing on more than 400 NBC Sports Radio affiliates across the country.

 

Digitally, Super Bowl XLIX banner ads can be found on NBCU’s 20-plus digital platforms including NBC.com, NBCSports.com, GolfChannel.com, CNBC.com, MSNBC.com, Eonline.com and BravoTV.com. Under NBC Sports Digital’s partnership with Yahoo Sports, Super Bowl XLIX banner promos are also appearing on YahooSports.com.

 

1 Bus: Sunday Night Football’s bus, wrapped in Super Bowl artwork and carrying a replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, will roll into Phoenix on Jan. 26. The vehicle will make stops at local events — notably the NFL Experience, the league’s interactive theme park — before heading to University of Phoenix Stadium on game day. Fans can see memorabilia and engage with an interactive 55-inch touchscreen housing social-media elements, photos and videos.

 

Numerous NBC Sports Radio programs are setting up shop in Phoenix, while The Dan Patrick Radio Show, which simulcasts on NBCSN and DirecTV’s Audience Network, is decamping to a western village the nation’s leading satellite provider will build across from the stadium.

 

Other NBCU programming and platforms showcasing Super Bowl content or originating from Phoenix include: Today, with Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie on the scene Jan. 30- 31; The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams in the desert on the aforementioned dates; Meet the Press on Super Bowl morning; the syndicated Access Hollywood; MSNBC’s Morning Joe; NBCSN’s NHL Live, Premiere League Live and Pro Football Talk; and NBC Sports Digital.

 

Golf Channel is also hosting a week of themed programming and events originating from Phoenix, as the PGA Tour is in town from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1.

 

12 Midnight: The official switch-over from mun2 to NBC Universo begins at midnight with Bienvenidos a NBC Universo, a half-hour show outlining what viewers can expect from the service. The program will also air after the conclusion of NBC Universo’s coverage of the Super Bowl; it will make it the second Spanish-language network to air the NFL championship.

 

The network’s lineup features two specials sporting highlights from Media Day; an interview with halftime entertainer Katy Perry; a behind-the-scenes look at its production game plan; and the best performers from Super Bowl halftimes past. The official pregame show starts at 5 p.m. Content will be accessible to all users at nbcuniverso.com.

 

Looking to provide more exposure for its coming out party, the 40-million subscriber NBC Universo has secured a free preview for the day with DirecTV, Dish, AT&T U-verse, Cox, Verizon FiOS and corporate parent Comcast that will make it available to 71 million homes.

 

Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this story.

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