Published February 8, 2022

Data Shows Viewership is Up

The NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers pulled in the highest viewership since 2014, according Fox ratings, while CBS reported the highest viewership for the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs’ AFC championship game on record. This suggests Americans are ready to celebrate the national pastime after a strange and difficult couple of seasons. Meanwhile, with 467,000 jobs added in January, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment situation, millions of Americans working remotely, COVID cases falling, and restrictions lifting in many areas, employers can expect workers to slack the day after the Super Bowl, which happens to be Valentine’s Day this year, according to one workplace authority.

“Average wages are high, in part due to companies’ desperately trying to hold on to their workers. Bars and restaurants are filling up again with patrons across the country, after a hard couple of years. The fact that the day after the Super Bowl also falls on Valentine’s Day is another shot at worker productivity,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“It’s a great excuse for employers to show some leniency to their teams, particularly those who work in-person. For the 15% of employed Americans working from home, they may not be available for morning video meetings,” he added.

Indeed, according to the BLS’s Supplemental COVID data, nearly 24 million Americans over the age of 16 worked from home in January due to the pandemic, up from 17 million in December.

According to Fox, the Rams/49ers matchup averaged 50.2 million viewers, the most since 2014. Meanwhile, CBS reported that 47.9 million viewers tuned in for the Bengals/Chiefs game on average, the most ever recorded.

Highlights from 2021 Super Bowl Data

Last year’s Super Bowl brought in just 96.4 million viewers, the fewest since 2007, when 93.1 million viewers watched the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears, according to ViacomCBS. The NFL reported a 10% increase in viewership on average for the season over 2020, according to an analysis in Forbes. Applying that 10% increase to 2021 viewership, Challenger predicts this year’s Super Bowl will draw 106.04 million viewers.

Related: Do We Need a Super Bowl Monday Holiday Now More Than Ever?

Super Bowl LVI Impact on the Workforce

Based on viewership estimates, using the employment-population ratio and applying the average hourly wage, this year’s Super Bowl could cost employers over $6.5 billion in lost productivity on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

According to a 2021 survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos, 16.1 million Americans reported they were likely not going to work on the Monday after the Super Bowl. This figure, multiplied times the average daily hours worked in January (6.9), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the average hourly wage of $31.63 in January 2022, results in $3.5 billion in lost productivity. Add 2 hours of distracted working for the other 47 million estimated employed NFL fans, the cost balloons to $6.5 billion.

“While offices are overwhelmingly sitting empty, for many Americans, particularly those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, life is starting to look a bit more normal. The Super Bowl is a shared experience that many are looking forward to,” said Challenger.

Employers can use the game as a way to make sure their remote teams stay engaged in an era when workers have their pick of jobs. Similarly among in-person staff, especially with Valentine’s Day, giving workers extra breaks, or allowing them to come in a bit later or leave earlier when possible, will go a long way to building camaraderie and morale,” said Challenger.



Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries


Super Bowl Productivity by the Numbers

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., BLS, Workforce Institute at Kronos. Created in Canva | Nicole Lobdell LLC

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Estimated employed Super Bowl viewers: 63,305,880 Americans

Based on Challenger’s viewership estimate of 106,004,000 with the current employment-population ratio of 59.7% applied.

Average hourly earnings: $31.63

According to January 2022 preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average daily hours worked: 6.9 hours

According to January 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Estimated absences on Monday: 16,100,000

Based on a 2021 Workforce Institute at Kronos survey.

Super Bowl Valentine’s Day absences impact: $3,513,776,700

Based on the 16,100,000 estimated absences with the average daily hours worked (6.9 hours) at the average hourly wage ($31.63).

Super Bowl Valentine’s Day distractions impact: $2,986,243,968.80

Based on the 63,305,880 employed NFL viewers distracted by the Super Bowl minus the 16,100,000 workers who will be absent = 47,205,880 workers who will be distracted or slacking for 2 hours on Monday.


TOTAL IMPACT: $6,500,000,668.80


Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.


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Challenger's Media Coverage

The Super Bowl’s surge in ratings could cost U.S. companies $6.5 billion

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Fortune Magazine Media Coverage on Super Bowl Productivity Numbers by Challenger
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