Puppy Bowl: America’s Second Favorite (Yet Cutest) Game
Though it’s safe to say a majority of Americans were watching Denver and Seattle face off this past Sunday, February 2nd, during the airing of Super Bowl XLVII, the Broncos and the Seahawks were not the only two teams of animals to capture the attention of television audiences. On the same day, Animal Planet aired their 10th Annual Puppy Bowl. When one would assume the whole world had their butt glued to the couch and their eyes fixated on clashing titans, approximately 13.5 million viewers were watching cuddlier beasts romp around.
Puppy Bowl X was the Super Bowl’s fiercest rival. Though this past Super Bowl (and its accompanying advertisements) was the most watched program in television history[i], other programs were still pawing for America’s attention. Enough animal lovers watched the Puppy Bowl that TV ratings hit a record high at 13.5 million viewers for its first telecast, a 24% increase from last year’s ratings.[ii] The canine competition brought in 1.3 million more viewers in the 18-49 range than last year.
Even though Puppy Bowl started as a tongue-in-cheek alternative to the Super Bowl, the franchise has gained so much traction that it has transformed into a year-round strategy for Animal Planet. New additions for this year include the launch of a Fantasy Puppy League venture, plus a boosted halftime show starring YouTube crowd-pleaser Keyboard Cat.[iii]
The impressive climb in viewership could be thanks to an improvement in the show’s digital footprint. Live streaming brought in more than 500,000 unique visitors, an improvement of 15%.[iv] The show aired on the Animal Planet network, but it was also available via online live stream, with new updates every hour. Viewers were given the option to vote for their top pick for MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) hourly, and to interact with Meep the Bird, the social media correspondent, on his Twitter account: (@MeepTheBird) during the game.
The competition mimics that of the football counterpart. The puppy players in the starting line up range from 12-18 weeks, and were provided by 33 different adoption agencies and shelters.[v] Unlike the Super Bowl, however the less trained the players, the better, because the chaotic raucousness of doggy mishaps is what makes the show adorable.
The Puppy Bowl has done so well, that the ad revenue is 30% higher than last year. This is probably due to the show being incredibly sponsor-friendly. There aren’t many brands that would view an advertising association with adorable creatures wrestling as a negative. Copycats have even begun to follow suit. The Hallmark Network launched the Kitten Bowl and Nat Geo now airs the Fish Bowl. Neither has come close to touching the pop culture phenomenon of Animal Planet’s original, however.
For the show’s best moments, check out some footage from Animal Planet.