Take the over on both the 105 and 106.5.
As in a Super Bowl record crowd of 105,000 people in and around Cowboys Stadium and 106.5 million average viewers, which would ease past last year’s NFL title tilt as the largest audience in U.S. TV history.
The league is projecting that the Pittsburgh Steelers-Green Bay Packers matchup will set a new championship game attendance mark, with upward of 95,000 fans and an additional 5,000 workers, officials and members of the media inside Jerry’s World. Plus, there are another 5,000 or so who plunked down $200 a throw for the outdoor Plaza Party area.
While the inclement weather that’s dropped snow and ice on North Texas may keep some of those folks away (to say nothing of those who were injured when some of the white stuff slid off the roof), tickets sold are tickets sold. As such, the 103,985 who saw the Steelers top the Los Angeles Rams (yes children, the NFL once had a team in the City of the Angels) in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl, figure to fall by the wayside as the largest gathering in Super Bowl annals.
Yep, things are always bigger in Texas. Unless, you’re looking at the 108,713 that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones invited to the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.
As for the Nielsen tally, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ triumph over Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV drove Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce and the M*A*S*H finale from the Nielsen record book, as last season’s Big Game was truly big, generating 106,476,000 viewers on average for CBS.
Several factors could set the stage for a new mark: the NFL’s record-setting ratings during the regular season and playoffs; the lousy weather that might keep some Nielsen families home, rather than heading to their favorite tavern to watch the contest; and the storied franchises with national followings participating. Add up all the Terrible Towel twirlers and Cheeseheads around the nation and things bode well for Fox to up the audience ante.
On the downside, one can argue against the size of the markets: Pittsburgh is DMA No. 24, while Green Bay-Appleton is the NFL’s smallest at 71 (Milwaukee, that old Packers stomping ground, ranks 35th). But, in one of the NFL’s many attributes, TV and otherwise, size doesn’t always matter. Indeed, Indy (25) and New Orleans (51) don’t sit near the top of the Nielsen standings either.
Moreover, QBs Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger don’t have as much of the right profile (that’s Montgomery Clift, honey) as their counterparts from a year ago. Could a bit of Steeler fatigue — the club is making its third appearance in the title tilt since 2006 — also come into play?
Most importantly, will casual fans and/or women, tune out Roethlisberger given his off-the-field legacy?
Of course, an early blowout could puncture holes in small screens around the country, if not the monstrous video board hovering above the playing field at Cowboys Stadium. Then again, if the owners and players can’t come to a new labor accord, this could be the last NFL games fans can watch and savor for a spell.
Let’s hope neither of those final two scenarios materialize. Enjoy the game!