Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Are you sure you counted correctly?

One final Super Bowl-related thought and then I'll put this topic to bed - afterwards we always find out what the ratings for the game were and how they stack up against past Super Bowls and other top-rated programs. According to USA Today, the game drew 97.5 million viewers nationwide - the most ever for a Super Bowl. It was also the 2nd most national viewers for any television program ever, behind the series finale of "M-A-S-H" in 1983 that drew 106 million.

Question though - how can anybody know if this is accurate? I was only 4 in 1983, so I don't remember how big of an event the series finale of M-A-S-H was. Based on the numbers, I can see it was a big deal. But were people packing sports bars around the country to watch it? I can see how they can make a pretty accurate guess that 106 million people watched M-A-S-H, but how in the world can you account for packed sports bars watching the Super Bowl? I watched the game at a dive bar last year that can fit 85 people or so, and this place had to have been at 85 and then some. I can only imagine that just about every sports bar across the country would have been operating under similar circumstances. So how do all of those people get counted? Is it just a guess? And if so, what's the point?

My guess is that sports programs must be getting the shaft when it comes to television ratings.