Super Bowl, Super Fans: New Report Unpacks the Anatomy of a Fan and the Value for Brands at Major Sporting Events

National Research Group releases new survey research on building brand fandom and the anatomy of a fan.
Research from Stagwell‘s National Research Group (NRG), a global insights leader at the intersection of technology, content, and culture, proves the value for brand activation at major sporting events like the Super Bowl in its newest whitepaper, “Building Brand Fandom at the Super Bowl.” In the report, NRG outlines “the anatomy of a fan” by analyzing Super Bowl fans and non-Super Bowl fans’ responses to questions around their excitement for the game, the advertisements, viewing habits, social media consumption, perceptions of the brands involved, and more.

The whitepaper is the second iteration of NRG’s “Brand Fandom” platform in the lead up to Stagwell’s Sport Beach activation at Cannes 2023, tapping into the cultural zeitgeist of sport to unpack the journey to fandom across key categories and audiences, and the value for brands in making fans out of their communities.

“There’s no question the Super Bowl is a pinnacle of culture-moving sports events, drawing everyone from committed NFL fans to passive viewers looking to be entertained,” said NRG EVP, Brand Strategy and Innovation, Fotoulla Damaskos. “In this installment of our research, we proved our hypothesis that the same attributes that draw people to sports – community, creativity, exclusivity – are the same ones that drive brand fandom. We encourage brands to think about the massive potential of cultural moments like these as driving forces for their business.”

“There are few events that command such an energized fan base as the Super Bowl, and combined with the buzz before, during, and after a big sporting event, it’s a no-brainer for brands to become part of the conversation if they want to harness that kind of deeply rooted passion for their own brand,” said Stagwell EVP, Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Linder.

Research found that when compared to non-fans, Super Bowl fans are more than just a large captive audience. They are coveted, as they are more likely to be:

  • Advocates: 86% enjoy talking about the products and brands they love with other people (vs. 69% of non-SB fans) and are 1.5x more likely to share on social media about brands and products they love than non-SB fans.
  • Enthusiasts: 85% like to be in the know about what’s new and next (vs. 62% of non-SB fans), and 69% like to follow their favorite brands on social media (vs. 51% for non-SB fans).
  • Connectors: 76% feel a strong connection with people who like the same products/brands that they like (vs. 58% of non-SB fans) and are 1.5x more likely to say that people often ask for their opinions on brands, products, or services.

Added Highlights

  • Of those who plan to watch, 96% say they are a big fan of at least one brand advertising at the Super Bowl – much greater than those who say they are big fans of either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles (32%).
  • Fans are just as excited to watch the commercials (89%) as they are the game itself (86%) and the halftime show (85%).
  • 87% say the commercials in the Super Bowl set the tone for brand buzz for a long time after the game.
  • 41% say they have become a fan of a product because of its Super Bowl commercial.
  • 56% say past Super Bowl commercials have deepened a connection they had with a brand.

Brand Innovators Sports Marketing Upfronts
Ahead of the Big Game, the research will take center stage at the “Anatomy of a Fan: Building Brand Passion” panel today, hosted by Brand Innovators and taking place at 10:50 a.m. MST at Hotel Valley Ho. Brand leaders and marketing experts, including Stagwell’s Linder and NRG’s Damaskos, Diageo Senior Vice President of Whiskeys Portfolio in North America Sophie Kelly, and United Airlines Managing Director, Global Sponsorships and Inclusive Partnerships Jennifer Entenman, will answer questions such as:

  • How are you harnessing fan power to keep consumers engaged with your brand?
  • How much do experiences like the Super Bowl help brands connect to new audiences?
  • How can brands continue to leverage and build upon buzz even after the Super Bowl?

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