Chances are you’d had have been well aware of when America’s Superbowl Sunday fell this year, and if you weren’t watching it (well into the night) then you knew someone who was. The fact is, this sporting event is the most famous in the US and pretty darn famous everywhere else, too.
What’s amusing about it to us Brits about it all is not so much the absolute devotion to a televised sport (for that we have our own comparatives – world and European football championships and the current dismal cricket springing to mind) but the fascination with everything on its periphery. It’s an idiosyncratic match where the commercials mid-game are as talked about on social media as much, if not more than, the game itself. Where the entertainment during half time spark as much debate as the players on the field do.
So what will no doubt come as little surprise is the interest in (and that, we admit, we are also interested in) what online searches are happening on the day of and during the game. Among the search engine stats its clear there was a huge spike not only in looking for details of the event itself but also what food to serve while watching it, the celebrities that appear and, of course, the all-important ‘commercials’.
So what did people search exactly? Well, probably pretty obviously Google reported a massive spike in questions about the start time of the game. Obviously, I suppose, to all of us, not so the NFL website team who failed to get their site search engine-friendly by not mentioning the time and date on their site in a way that would mean it was search engine optimised. Instead it simply listed the time on their site, without linking to what might be asked of Google, Bing and the like. In 2013 it did precisely this (what time does the Superbowl start with the answer) so they likely missed several thousand prospective visitors this way.
Other practical search engine requests were what snacks to serve during the game -‘superbowl recipes’ enjoyed a 300% spike in number of searches while ‘superbowl food’ jumped up by 190%. During the game itself, search engines enjoyed large spikes in numbers, about the game specifically but also general searches about anyone who appeared during the event (sports related or otherwise).
The ads (if we can go back to referring to them as that) were also searched in their vast numbers and I for one saw at least a dozen facebook reposts of the ‘cutest’, despite the game happening the other side of the Atlantic. What it goes to show anyway is that not only are we information junkies with the answer to our every single and most minute of questions available at the drop of a key (I think we knew that already) but that one of the most watched sporting events in the world is done so with a laptop or a phone at hand, all ready and raring to go to access yet more information while we sit through it.
Watched may become the operative word.