Super Bowl featuring ex-Lion Matthew Stafford draws huge ratings in Detroit
The lure of watching Matthew Stafford in the Super Bowl proved to be significant in Detroit, where the quarterback spent the first 12 years of his career.
According to ratings data provided by NBC, Detroit had the second-highest rating of the 44 markets measured, checking in only behind Cincinnati. The southern Ohio city had good reason to be No. 1, given the hometown Bengals were playing in the championship game for the first time since 1989.
But the mix of curiosity and support for Stafford brought in a nearly equal percentage of viewers in Detroit, which posted a 45.9 rating and 79 share, indicating nearly 80% of all televisions turned on during Sunday evening were tuned into the Super Bowl.
Stafford's new home market of Los Angeles, by comparison, had a 36.7 rating and 77 share.
Overall, Super Bowl viewership was up more than 16% nationally. NBC reported that 112.3 million tuned into the game via its various platforms, which included the primary broadcast, Telemundo and the network's Peacock streaming service. That's significant improvement from the 96.4 million watched last year's matchup between Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
It's also reflective of a season-long trend for NFL ratings, which were up 10% from the previous year, including 4% in the Detroit market.
Detroit keeping close tabs on Stafford trying complete his quest for a championship mirrored Boston's interest in last year's game featuring longtime quarterback Tom Brady. Boston also finished second to a participating market (Kansas City) in 2021.
Detroit-area fans were also heavily invested in the NFC Championship game two weeks earlier. According to Fox, which aired the matchup between the Rams and San Francisco 49ers, the contest drew a higher rating in Detroit than the Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day game.
Since being traded by the Lions last offseason, Stafford has regularly talked about his gratitude for the continued support of many Lions fans, including thousands who showed up for a regular season matchup between his current and former team in Los Angeles.
Immediately after winning the Super Bowl, Stafford shared those sentiments once again during an interview with the NFL Network.
"It was amazing," Stafford said. "There's no reason for them to cheer for me anymore, and the fact that they did was just a true testament to who they are as people, and who they are as fans.
"To have that support all the way across the country here playing in this game, it means the world to me and my wife, my family. They helped us through a bunch of tough times and are a huge reason I'm sitting here today."