Record Super Bowl Viewing Figures Confirm Growing Popularity of Football in the UK

One of the flagship international markets for the NFL continues to showcase a growing appetite for football.

TV viewing figures for Super Bowl LVIII reached 3.4 million in the UK – a whopping 48% increase on the 2023 data.

That reveals just how much Brits are growing to love American football, in a year in which three NFL games will be heading to the country as part of the International Series.

Brit Bowl

Those viewing figures are all the more impressive when you consider that Brits have to stay up well past midnight – on a work night, no less – in order to watch the action unfold.

It’s all part of the growing popularity of football in the UK, with TV watchers and merchandise sales met by an interest in the latest NFL odds with sports betting sites, where punters can wager on who they think will win a game, how many points will be scored and so on.

An increasing number of related sites, including Paddy Power News, are also keeping football fans updated with the latest scores, league standings, injury details, trade rumours and much more besides.

The TV audiences for the Super Bowl are split across total and peak viewers, with the latter calculated by recording how many people are watching at a single time. Of the 3.4 million total audience, around 1.7 million were in their armchairs (or maybe beds, given the time difference) to see the kick-off.

What will most please NFL chiefs most is that a large slice of that viewership was people under the age of 35, with a whopping 91% growth in that demographic compared to Super Bowl LVII. Incredibly, of all the people aged under 35 that were watching traditional TV post-midnight, 74% were tuned into the Super Bowl simulcast on ITV and Sky Sports.

Intriguingly, that signals more interest in football in the UK than English Premier League soccer watchers in the U.S, continuing a theme that saw Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, almost sell out their respective capacities of 86,000 and 62,850 for the NFL International Series games in 2023.

On the Up

Almost in conjunction with the Super Bowl TV viewers came the news that British American Football (BAFA), the body that effectively runs the sport in the United Kingdom, is being considered for funding by UK Sport.

That latter organisation is tasked with handing out finance to bolster interest and participation in popular and niche sports in Great Britain, with the power to award grants and funding to those sports that are showing signs of growth and interest.

To secure financial backing in this manner will not only help BAFA to continue their fine work, but the money could also be spread to grassroots teams too – consolidating those already playing football and perhaps encouraging new ones to form as well.

There isn’t a great deal of American football infrastructure in the UK – many teams are forced to play their games on rugby pitches, so any funding that can be won from UK Sport may help to create a network of dedicated football pitches and facilities.

That would be a major win for a country showing a real appetite for the sport.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!