Posted on: February 12, 2024, 12:05h.
Last updated on: February 12, 2024, 12:08h.
Last night’s Super Bowl is projected to set a record viewership of more than 120M people, according to initial estimates by multiple news outlets. The official number will be announced by ratings agency Nielsen on Tuesday.
That means that Super Bowl LVIII should overtake last year’s big game (115.1M) as the most-watched Super Bowl ever, but fall short of the all-time viewership record set by the 1969 moon landing (650M).
The record ratings are expected to cap already above-average year for the NFL, whose regular season games drew an average of 17.9M viewers, the most since 2015.
Contributing factors include the nail-biting excitement of only the second Super Bowl to ever enter overtime, the draw of an Usher halftime show, and false rumors of a halftime appearance by Usher protégé Justin Bieber.
But, of course, everyone knows the real reason…
Taylor Swift, the biggest pop star of the 21st century so far, attracted untold millions of mostly female Gen Z viewers to the CBS Sports broadcast who normally wouldn’t have watched.
“Taylor Swift has done in a few months what my father has tried to do for 23 years,” tweeted @jmckenzziee. “I am paying attention to the Super Bowl completely willingly.”
“For the first time in a couple of decades, I am staying up in the middle of the night to watch the Taylor Swift Bowl.. er Super Bowl,” echoed Twitter/X user @rnadworny.
Millions of Swifties tracked their idol’s progress via social media as her private jet flew 12 hours from Haneda Airport in Tokyo — where she performed an “Eras Tour” concert just hours earlier — to LAX on Saturday.
After touching down at 3:30 p.m. PT, Swift spent the night in Los Angeles, then took another private jet to Las Vegas the next day.
She landed at Harry Reid International Airport on Sunday afternoon — as reported by a press release distributed by the NFL (!!) on Sunday at 2:48 p.m. — in plenty of time to make the game and cheer on her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
CBS Sports cameras flashed to Swift, watching the game in a private suite with friends and family members, a total 12 times during the broadcast — which was the subject of a popular Super Bowl prop bet.
Photographed inside Swift’s suite were musicians Lana Del Rey and Ice Spice, actress Blake Lively, and even former Beatle Paul McCartney, who popped in to say hello with his third wife, Nancy.
Swift’s total screen time during the game was 53 seconds which, if it were a Super Bowl commercial that long, would have cost $7 million.
Judging by the social media numbers, the Super Bowl was awesome right back to Taylor Swift. According to digital tracker Social Blade, the megastar gained more Instagram followers on Sunday (105K) just for showing up than Kelce (61K) and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (41K) did for actually winning the game combined.
Naturally, many sports fans took to Twitter/X to vent their fury at the attention Swift received during her attendance at the NFL’s biggest game of the year.
“Damn no Taylor Swift, thank you lol, ruining my Superbowl,” @uaintime813 tweeted.
“Taylor Swift is ruining my Super Bowl entertainment. I’m not trying to see her every 2 minutes,” echoed @_Ayrton21_.
But this sentiment was the exception.