Wings, ads and football: Super Bowl Sunday, by the numbers

Super Bowl LVI marks return to big game normals

Super Bowl snacks. (Unsplash)

Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun -- are you ready for some football? Grab your favorite beverage and chicken wings and dive into some Super Bowl Sunday data with us.

🏈 The super data behind the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LVI is this weekend and to help set the mood, we figured we’d take a dive into some fully loaded data (and nachos) on Super Bowl Sunday, an unofficial American holiday.

For starters, the Super Bowl is an obscenely large viewing event. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that 184 million U.S. adults are planning to watch the game. That’s like, most of us.

Additionally, 90 million are planning to host or attend a Super Bowl party, up from around 62 million last year, and another 13 million plan on watching the game at a bar or restaurant.

Total spending on food, drinks, apparel, decorations and other purchases for the day is expected to reach $14.6 billion, an average of about $78 per person -- the large majority being spent on food and drinks. Here’s a look at Super Bowl spending from 2007-2022.

Historical Super Bowl spending and celebration plans (2007 - 2022) (NRF)

💰 Super Bowl ads -- money, money, money

About 23% of people surveyed in the NRF poll said the commercials are the biggest reason they watch the Super Bowl. I thought that number would be higher, honestly.

Super Bowl ads are expensive -- like, really expensive. NBC has sold all of its spots for this year’s game, with prices reaching $7 million for a 30-second spot. That’s up from closer to $5.5 million last year. According to Kantar, in-game ad revenue for last year’s Super Bowl was $448.7 million, an increase from $338.6 million in 2019.

Super Bowl ad cost. (Kantar)

On average, the Super Bowl includes about 45 minutes of commercial time, from start to finish, consisting of around 70 TV ads. The biggest spenders are automotive and alcoholic beverage companies.

So is it all worth it? According to Kantar, the 2021 Super Bowl ads delivered an average return on investment (ROI) of $4.60 per dollar spent, with ads for Mountain Dew, Verizon, T-Mobile, and General Motors achieving the best results. Strong creative plays an important role in helping brands make the most of this super-sized opportunity.

Related: An early look at best Super Bowl 56 commercials so far

🍲 Let’s talk food

Okay, sorry for the delay of game -- we’re obviously here to talk about food. What’re you top Super Bowl snacks? Probably something like, wings, a type of chip, maybe a dip?

A YouGov survey from a couple of years ago found the most popular things to serve or eat during the game is chips and dip (40%), chicken wings (36%), pizza (35%), nachos (29%) and cheese and crackers (20%).

Cookies (18%), burgers (17%), meatballs (12%), tacos (12%) and ice cream (12%) are other popular picks.

As for drinks, 40 percent of Americans will be reaching for a can of soda. About three in 10 (31%) US adults plan to drink beer while they watch the Super Bowl, while 20 percent will enjoy some iced tea and 16 percent will pour themselves a glass of wine. (Wine and football is a weird mix, but hey, go for it!)

A site that gathered some Google Trend data found that Michigan’s top searched Super Bowl snack was cocktail weenies -- which happened to be the top overall searched snack in the country.

🤑 Put your money where your mouth is

This will be the second Super Bowl while sports betting is legal in Michigan -- and it’s sure to draw a big number, probably betting on the Rams because of Matthew Stafford.

The American Gaming Association is expecting U.S. bettors to wager close to $8 billion on Super Bowl LVI, nearly double the current record of $4.3 billion from Super Bowl LV.

Currently, depending on the betting site or app, the Rams are a 3-4 point favorite.

Super Bowl LVI between the Bengals and Rams begins at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday - on NBC and Local 4.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.