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Deflategate Unlikely to Flatten Super Bowl TV Sales

We are moderate football fans at my house, but preparations for this year’s Super Bowl are nonetheless underway. Our game menu is set, my kids have clearance to stay up a little later than normal, and a few neighbors will be stopping by to enjoy the game with us. I’ve never had a Super Bowl viewing party before, mostly because in previous years I’ve been too embarrassed about the size (and age) of my TV to have people over.

That all changed this spring when I retired my 42” LCD set from 2007 for a new 55” LED. And while I didn’t buy my new TV prior to the Super Bowl (I bought ahead of March Madness) plenty of fans look to this time of year to upgrade their sets before the big game.  According to The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service, 2014 Super Bowl week ranked third for 60”+ flat panel unit sales out of the 52 weeks ending February 1, 2014.  And in the Seattle and Denver markets (last year’s Super Bowl teams) January 2014 unit sales of TVs 60” and above grew 41 and 30 percent, respectively while 60”+ sales overall declined that month by 2 percent.

Aside from increased demand due to the game, attractive pricing leading up to the Super Bowl also helps drive sales.  During the week prior to last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII, ASPs for a 60” flat panel TV were $983, more than $120 lower than the 12 month average and the second lowest level seen for the 52 weeks ending that week (only during Black Friday were prices lower).  Looking ahead to this year, 4K/UHD will be the big promotional opportunity, with some sales offering up to 50 percent off regular price.  This will surely help 4K/UHD sales continue to grow, but it will also help increase the installed base of 4K/UHD owners.

With a compelling matchup on the field and plenty of attractive TV deals to go around, Super Bowl XLIX figures to be a successful event for both fans and TV manufacturers and retailers.   For those hunting for deals, sales during the Super Bowl provide close to Black Friday level pricing on many size segments while shoppers looking to upgrade their primary set to the latest in 4K/UHD technology can also find discounts from top tier TV brands.  Add to this two big market teams with rabid fan bases and you have the ingredients for a successful TV sales week.

Now, back to my party planning…

Ben Arnold is an industry analyst and executive director at the The NPD Group, a marketplace intelligence firm that provides tracking services, analytic solutions and advisory services across more than a dozen industries.