Less Than Half of Super Bowl Coverage About Actual Game

While almost everyone else in America is talking about the Super Bowl, the three network evening news broadcasts have spent more time using the Super Bowl as a segue to talk about other topics than they have discussing the game itself. 

This year, a total of 30 minutes 15 seconds were spent on the general topic of the Super Bowl, but only 12 minutes of that we're spent on the actual game, or either of the teams involved. 

Instead, the networks mainly focused on Super Bowl related topics. 5 minutes were spent previewing commercials, 3 minutes were spent on concussions and mental health issues in football players and 3-and-a-half minutes were spent on security at the stadium.

CBS Evening News, (CBS is the network hosting the game), devoted the most coverage specifically to the game out of the three news shows (5 minutes). Despite anchor Lester Holt's acknowledgement that the Super Bowl "is the biggest sporting event of the year," NBC Nightly News didn't cover the game itself at all in February, and only gave it 2 minutes in January (after that quote, the story turned to the FBI's security operations at the stadium).

ABC's World News Tonight covered the game least of all, with only 53 seconds devoted to it all year. The remainder of World News Tonight's Super Bowl coverage was spent on related topics including the commercials and on the production of the helmets, footballs and trophies for the game.

Last year, the same three network evening news shows devoted 44 minutes to the Super Bowl before the game was played, but 23 minutes of that were about the "Defalte Gate" controversy.



Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a research analyst for the MRC's News Analysis Division