That large (and largely trademarked) sporting event is this weekend. In honor of its reputation for massive advertising, Lisa Wade tipped me off about this interesting content analysis of last year’s event by the Media Education Foundation.
MEF watched last year’s big game and tallied just how much time was devoted to playing and how much was devoted to ads and other branded content during the game. According to their data, the ball was only in play “for a mere 18 minutes and 43 seconds, or roughly 8% of the entire broadcast.”
MEF used a pie chart to illustrate their findings, but readers can get better information from comparing different heights instead of different angles. Using their data, I quickly made this chart to more easily compare branded and non-branded content.
One surprising thing that jumps out of this data is that, for all the hubbub about commercials, far and away the most time is devoted to replays, shots of the crowd, and shots of the field without the ball in play. We know “the big game” is a big sell, but it is interesting to see how the thing it sells the most is the spectacle of the event itself.Evan Stewart is an assistant professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts Boston. You can follow him on Twitter.