The numbers don’t lie. More and more New Zealanders are getting turned on by the NFL brand of American football. Last year, record numbers of New Zealanders watched the 2020 Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
According to the ratings, in excess of 70,000 across New Zealand were glued to their TV sets, watching the Chiefs stage a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the 49ers 31-20 and win their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. Certainly, those numbers pale in comparison to the 99.9 million Americans who were watching the big game. Then again, it’s a significant uptick from the 25,000 or so who were watching in New Zealand in 2019 as the New England Patriots downed the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in that year’s Super Bowl game.
Doing the math, that’s almost a 200 percent increase in viewership in a one-year span. Naturally, since so many more New Zealanders are opting to watch the Super Bowl, it’s logical to suggest that more New Zealanders are placing Super Bowl bets on the big game’s outcome.
Americans wagered an estimated $6.8 billion US dollars on Super Bowl 54. Super Bowl Sunday is the largest single sports betting day of the year. Industry insiders in the USA often refer to the Super Bowl as sports betting Christmas.
Why The Increase In NFL Viewership?
Experts in all fields often speak of the effect of globalization, and there’s also been impact of that nature across the sporting landscape. Just as technology has made it such that more North Americans who are rugby fans can easily follow the exploits of the All Blacks than ever before, it works in the opposite direction in regards to the NFL.
With so much information available via the various social media channels, NFL news is now at the fingertips of fans in all corners of the world. As well, due to advancements in technology, there are more methods to watch an event like the Super Bowl than ever before.
Super Bowl 54 was broadcast by ESPN, and the live feed was picked up in New Zealand by Sky TV, shown on both television and across all of the company’s digital streaming services.
“US sports continue to appeal to our viewers and Super Bowl LIV was no exception,” Sky said in a statement. “Across satellite, SkyGo and Sky Sport Now (the standalone streaming service) we had 70,554 viewers at its peak for the live event, with an additional 7,192 opting for the replay later that evening.
“Compare this with 2019, when satellite numbers were 25,581 – you can see the attraction and growth of our streaming services operating in tandem with traditional options.”
All Blacks Super Bowl Stars
Not only are New Zealanders establishing record-setting numbers for watching the Super Bowl, some of New Zealand’s sporting royalty are opting to take in North America’s most significant sporting event up close and personal.
All Blacks and Blues first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, a self-proclaimed massive Kansas City Chiefs supporter, and former All Blacks star Israel Dagg both made the journey to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium to watch the Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
“All Blacks by Wikimedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Both rugby legends and Rugby World Cup winners shared their experience via their social media feeds. Dagg and Barrett each were adorned in Kansas City No. 10 jerseys, the uniform worn by Chiefs All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Hill led all AFC players with 15 touchdowns during the 2020 season.
“Out the Gate [the] best event I’ve ever been to,” Dagg posted to his Instagram account. “Thank you Miami.”
Claiming that he’s been a Chiefs fan from Day 1, Barrett was more succinct and to the point in his Instagram post. “Let’s go @chiefs @patrickmahomes. #SuperBowl,” Barrett posted.
Chiefs quarterback Mahomes was voted the Super Bowl MVP.
During their American adventure, Barrett and Dagg also attended a PGA Tour event, the Phoenix Open, and took in the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Displaying the true worldwide pull of the Super Bowl, while at the game, Dagg and Barrett met up with Cian O’Sullivan. The Gaelic football star from Ireland plays for Kilmacud Crokes and at senior level for the Dublin County team.