Super Bowl LVII: Did the Big Game Score Big on Emotion?

With the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38–35, Super Bowl LVII will likely be remembered for stellar performances from both quarterbacks, some late-game drama, and a halftime show by the stunning and daring Rihanna.

Thanks to our U.S. panel, MindProber was well-prepared to measure everything. We provided a rich, second-by-second analysis of viewers’ reactions and emotional engagement during the entire game to determine its Emotional Impact Score (EIS).

How emotionally engaging was Super Bowl LVII?

As the most-watched television event in the United States, the Super Bowl draws the attention of more than 100 million viewers across the country. The highly anticipated game is usually one of the year’s highest-rated TV moments, but sometimes it fails to deliver in terms of emotion. That was the case this year.

Overall, the FOX Sports broadcast of Super Bowl LVII achieved an EIS of 500. This puts it 12% below the norm for MindProber’s benchmark for sporting event broadcasts. Comparing this year’s game against previous Super Bowls, the 2023 game scored 11% below the norm

Even compared with the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final between Argentina and France in December 2022, Super Bowl LVII scored 20% below that game’s EIS in the U.S. market. That’s right: Soccer outscored football in America.

Super Bowl LVII: MindProber EIS Benchmark

Does this mean the Super Bowl had low emotion? Not really. Since we’re talking about an almost 4-hour-long broadcast, it’s natural for the emotional impact to ebb and flow throughout the game. And some big moments in the game that clearly resonated emotionally.

So what was the most emotionally impactful moment of the game?

Was it Harrison Butker’s winning field goal? Or A.J. Brown’s touchdown after a 45-yard pass from Jalen Hurts?

While both of these make it into our top moments, neither was the most emotionally impactful of the game. That title goes to Patrick Mahomes’ 26-yard scramble near the end of the fourth quarter (EIS: 843), putting the Chiefs in a scoring position to win the game.

So here’s the list of our Super Bowl LVII Top 5 Emotional Impact Moments:

Super Bow LVII: Top 5 Emotional Impact Moments

Did Rihanna score?

One of the most anticipated moments of the Super Bowl LVII was the halftime show featuring Rihanna. Performing live for the first time in five years, Rihanna’s show scored 501 on the MindProber EIS metric, just marginally above the rest of the content.

And, just as with the rest of the broadcast, Rihanna’s engagement levels ebbed and flowed. Starting strong, the impact of the first song and the daredevil nature of the performance earned a 599 EIS value from our viewers. The performance’s emotional impact then dipped through the setlist, bouncing back at the end, when Rihanna performed some of her top hits and once again rose above the field.

While she had a strong start and finish to the set, Rihanna still drew less emotional impact than previous sporting events’ live performances.

Emotional impact fell short — but stayed steady

While this year’s game was competitive and had some exciting moments, it failed to engage the viewers emotionally overall, falling short of the level of emotional impact we are used to seeing in big sports competitions.

That doesn’t mean the Super Bowl LVII didn’t provide some excellent TV entertainment, as our list of top moments shows. While there weren’t big emotional peaks, the game was able to capture viewers’ interest steadily for the duration.

What about the Super Bowl ads?

As much as people love football and halftime shows, a big part of the appeal of the Super Bowl is advertising. Ad breaks feature fierce competition among brands — not only to persuade consumers but to show their creativity. Super Bowl advertising is like a whole other show inside the big game.
To do it justice, we’ll feature our Super Bowl LVII ad analysis in a separate post. Stay tuned and subscribe to learn which brands excelled emotionally this year!

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