With the Super Bowl coming up, we asked executives in the industry what the secret sauce is that makes football must-watch TV in the U.S. Here’s what they had to say. 

Michael Mulvihill
EVP/Head of Strategy and Analytics
FOX Sports

The game itself is a unique balance of athleticism, physicality and strategy, which can make it appealing in different ways to different types of fans. The emphasis on the quarterback position helps a lot. Just knowing the QBs is an easy entry point for more casual fans, while more hardcore fans can dive deeper into the game. And then there’s simple supply and demand. The supply of NFL games on TV hasn’t changed much in 40 years, while the supply of every other sport and genre of programming has exploded. Maintaining scarcity has insulated the NFL from the fragmentation that has defined the rest of TV.

Dave Phillips Jr.
Head of Sports Programming

Football is a sport that is not easily replicated on your own.  This makes it so when you can see it on TV, you want to tune in. You get invested in it and it becomes a part of you.  Football is great on TV.  The angles and all of the cameras bring you into the experience.


Michael Thompson
VP, Programming & Acquisitions
SEC Network

The secret sauce is personality. Whether it’s the athletes and coaches on the field or our on-air commentators behind the desk, on the sidelines and in the booth, what makes football must-watch is the people: the actual human beings and the intersection of their stories with the viewers’ lives.


Steve Tseng
EVP, Partnerships
Pac-12 Networks

The incredible popularity of football on television at the college and professional level is rooted in several key factors, including the strong allegiance that fans have to their university and home city team; the scarcity of games and their importance throughout each season which makes it appointment television; the depth and parity in the game across teams, and of course the incredible level of athleticism and physicality of the game.  In the case of the Pac-12, we know that the passion that fans have for their alma mater is unrivaled, and having elite teams, elite athletes and historic and meaningful rivalries and traditions drives the incredible engagement of our fans.

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