Here’s MTM Sport’s rundown of a few of the things you may have missed, and what to expect from the future of the NFL

Summary of the results 

The 2022 Super Bowl was another down-to-the-wire game in a playoff season filled with tense and thrilling encounters. It was a game of high stakes for the two teams, as the LA Rams found themselves searching for their first Super Bowl victory in 20 seasons, whilst the Cincinnati Bengals were searching for their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. Things started smoothly for the Rams, who took a 13-3 lead through the first quarter. Along with the intense high-powered offense showcased by the two teams, we saw injuries in the game including to the Rams’ Odell Beckham, who sustained a non-contact left-knee injury late in the second quarter, which caused the Rams offense to stall and for the Bengals offense to wake up. However, in the last minute, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp linked up for the game-winning touchdown, resulting in the Rams being crowned winners 23-20.

Viewership

In a fitting end to a season that’s seen a resurgence in viewership, with ratings for the regular season up roughly 10% overall from last year, this year’s game attracted 112.3 million viewers across TV and streaming in the US, according to NBC. That number was up from last year’s Super Bowl, which averaged roughly 96.4 million viewers across CBS and streaming, which was a 10-year low.

The increase defies television trends lately, where the ratings for the majority of programs are down year on year, given the extra choice that streaming services provide.

Notably, this year was the first time Telemundo was able to broadcast the game, making it the first-ever Spanish-language broadcast network to air the Super Bowl, which likely helped the viewership.

Internationally NFL scored big, with the NFL reporting growing viewing figures in the UK – with a million viewers a week – drawn to the BBC’s NFL show on linear and digital and 1.3 million tuning into the Super Bowl, beating 2021 peak coverage.

Pepsi’s half-time show

This year’s Super Bowl marked the first time the half-time show was headlined by hip-hop artists. This was led by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent, who celebrated the West Coast hip-hop scene, with hits such as ‘California Love’ and 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’. This proved to be popular with fans and critics alike, who praised the nostalgic nod for the Millennials and Gen Z and praised the energy of the set. Furthermore, Eminem marked his set with a tribute to Colin Kaepernick’s fight for social justice and equality by taking the knee on stage.

The critical acclaim of the half-time show demonstrates to the NFL and other sporting organisations that headliners for future half-time shows can be someone other than a traditional pop-star.

 Super Bowl commercial ads

Super Bowl is not solely about the sport. It is also important for brands, as an ad spot on Super Bowl can catapult a brand into the mainstream consciousness. This year, we saw records for ad buys with nearly $7 million for 30-second spots each.

Super Bowl ads usually reflect what the corporations are trying to harness in a given era and cultural currents. This year, we saw commercials focused on futurism and escapism. Coinbase made its Super Bowl debut with a remarkably clever QR code ad that proved so popular that reports of its app crashing emerged shortly after the advertisement. Notable ads outside of cryptocurrency included electric vehicles, the mind-reading Amazon Alexa and a nod to the nostalgic past of 90’s movies like Verizon’s The Cable Guy-themed ad.

The future for NFL?

NFL has steadily shown interest in taking NFL global from 2026, including cementing partnerships with Tottenham Hotspur and FC Bayern Munich to host two regular games per season for the next 10 years. Tottenham are eyeing a bid to host the Super Bowl at their London stadium in 2026, with Stadium Australia in Sydney also expected to explore the possibility. However, many have questioned the practicality of such plans whilst continuing to provide American TV audiences with a primetime experience.

NFL also just announced a partnership to enter mobile gaming with the gaming platform, Skillz. The two brands will host a global game developer challenge, giving developers the chance to create an NFL-themed mobile game aimed at becoming a future mobile eSport. On the brand side, Verizon made one of the biggest pushes into gaming. With their gaming-focused Super Bowl ad featuring Samuel L. Jackson last year, the brand promoted its 5G capabilities by creating a virtual 5G stadium built within Fortnite. The virtual stadium allows fans to try out different football-themed games and scavenger hunts while engaging with NFL players and pro gamers.

The signs are bright once again for the NFL. This season NFL has seen its highest-rated season average since 2015. It continues to be a world-leading showpiece with over-the-top ads, nostalgic half-time shows, and ventures into the gaming and cryptocurrency industries. 2023 also promises to be an intriguing year, as the Super Bowl returns to Fox Network for the first time since 2020 and we are excited to see how the NFL top their ‘bounce-back’ season performance.