Most Americans see the Super Bowl as social rather than sporting occasion

James Stibbs External Consultant - YouGov Sport
January 31, 2019, 4:00 PM GMT+0

One quarter of avid NFL fans would choose to watch the Super Bowl over attending their children’s birthday

As the NFL-watching world prepares for the Super Bowl this weekend, we thought we’d ask Americans how significant the game is to them compared to other important events in their calendar.

More than half (54%) of avid NFL fans (they listed the NFL as one of their top interests) told YouGov that they would rather watch the Super Bowl than attend their own birthday celebrations. Twenty-four percent said that they would even choose the game over their own children’s party.

For these fans, attending a wedding didn’t even come close compared the draw of watching the NFL’s biggest match of the season. Fifty-nine percent of fans told us that they would send their apologies to the bride and groom-to-be should there be a clash with the game.

In fact, for nearly one in five avid fans (17%), the Super Bowl trumps Thanksgiving, Christmas, their birthday, the fourth of July and New Years for enjoyment – compared to just one in twenty for the rest of Americans.

But even NFL fans don’t value football over everything else. When asked which they would attend if they had the option of watching the Super Bowl in person, most would still choose a romantic evening with their partner, a parent’s birthday celebration or marking Thanksgiving.

So what makes up an enjoyable Super Bowl celebration? According to those members of the public who chose an option, the game is primarily a social occasion.

But we also asked the public what the most important part of game-day was to them. The most popular choice was the game itself (21%), but the commercials came a close second (18%), with getting friends and/or family together coming in third (14%).

For NFL’s most avid fans, though, it’s all about the football. They told us the game was the most important part of the Super Bowl (66%), with getting family and friends together a distant second (12%).

But watch out for a clash of interests, party-goers. For those hosting friends or family, the game itself is the most important part of the event. But for those attending a friend or family’s house, it’s the socializing that’s most important. So look out for those chatterboxes in the back of the room.

Is chips and dips, pizza or chicken wings the king of football food? Read more about Americans' food and venue choices for the Super Bowl, and who they're rooting for this year.