Though the final numbers are still being reported, it is a sure bet that Super Bowl LVI was a big winner for another group besides the Los Angeles Rams.
Before the Super Bowl kicked off on Sunday, it was expected that more than 30 million Americans were going to collectively bet more than $8 billion on the big game. Those projections may have been low as betting on this year’s Super Bowl hit a record high and early reports from gambling operators and state regulators indicate it was a huge day for sportsbooks across the country, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Thanks to 10 states allowing legal betting to open up over the past year, 45 million more people had access to legal sportsbooks in their home states for the Super Bowl this year compared with last year, per the American Gaming Association. And in states like New York, where sports betting is now legal online and via mobile devices, betting on this year’s game was as easy as picking up a phone. That led to New Yorkers placing the largest number of digital bets over Super Bowl weekend via BetMGM’s platform and the company hitting a new single-day record for the number of people depositing into a betting account for the first time.
“The Super Bowl is the biggest single day for American sportsbooks, and this year didn’t disappoint,” gambling-industry analyst Chris Grove told The Journal. “It seems like legal U.S. sportsbooks will easily eclipse a billion dollars in total wagers on the game.”
According to the American Gaming Association, about $500 million was bet legally on the Super Bowl last year.
In addition to being a win for sportsbooks and Los Angeles, Super Bowl LVI was also a win for NBC and its broadcast partners. The game drew an average audience of just over 112 million viewers combined between linear television viewers and online streamers. That’s a 16% increase over the total audience for last season’s Super Bowl and makes Sunday evening’s telecast the most-watched American TV broadcast in five years.
Viewers tuning in for the game stuck around to watch NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, giving the network its largest primetime audience for the Games since the opening Sunday of the 2018 Winter Games, a span of 41 Olympic nights.
“We’re gratified that our strategy of combining the two most powerful events in the world – the Super Bowl and the Olympics – on ‘Super Gold Sunday’ has paid off in such a big way,” said NBC sports chairman Pete Bevacqua. “We look forward to continuing this strategy into the future.”