After a dominating first half for the Ravens, they expanded the lead with a kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. It looked like this game was going to be a blowout. Then the moment that will define this Super Bowl in the years to come......
The lights went out.
It was a very strange moment. After a few minutes of confusion, the viewers were informed of the situation. After a lengthy 34 minute delay, the game resumed but changed drastically. As the lights in the stadium turned on, the 49ers turned it on. They battled back and had a good chance to take the lead late in the game. After a controversial no call, the Ravens held on for the win.
While I was waiting for the delay to be over, all I could think about was how many viewers would turn off the game for good. The game was not close, so how long would the viewers be willing to wait in a delay? Would viewers comeback when they saw the game was getting close? Lets take a look.
An average of 108.4 million people watched the game. This number is extraordinary, but it is down from the previous two Super Bowls. In 2011, an average of 111 million people watched the game. In 2012, the number increased to 111.4 million people.
Although the viewers were down from last year, advertisers should be happy. CBS reported that the game was sampled by 164.1 million people this is up from last year's 159.2 million people. The viewers who "sample" a game are those viewers who watched at least six minutes. Advertisers will be thrilled with this number, and they should. This year Super Bowl advertisements averaged between $3.8 million and $4 million per 30 second ad.
It appears that those who turned off the game during the light delay, tuned back in for the end of the game. The final minutes of the game had the highest average viewers with 113.9 million people watching.
The NFL got extremely lucky in this game. After a terrible first half, the problems for the league got worse. After a long delay due to the lights, they could have lost a lot of viewers. The NFL got bailed out by a great 49er comeback. They got bailed out once again when the officials failed to call holding on a critical 4th down play at the end of the game. Had the officials called holding and the 49ers went on to score and win the game, controversy about the lights destroying the momentum of the game would be a top news story. Roger Goodell has reason to be a happy commissioner.