The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles…)
Seven-layer dip? Check. Appropriate jersey? Check. Friends and loved ones gathered near a TV? Check. What time is the Super Bowl?... Oh for Pete Rozelle's sake, what time is the Super Bowl?
Calm down. The Super Bowl may be prime-time viewing on the East Coast, but on the West Coast it's an afternoon affair. Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens versus the San Francisco 49ers playing in New Orleans' Superdome will kick off at 3:15 p.m. PST on CBS.
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While the TV audience is growing increasingly fragmented, the Super Bowl has done the near-impossible by drawing larger and larger audiences every year. In fact, last year's Super Bowl, broadcast on NBC, drew the event's biggest audience ever, with 111.3 million viewers. It was up less than 1%, from the previous year's Super Bowl on Fox, but a growing audience is a growing audience.
In fact, last year's Super Bowl was estimated to have had the largest audience in TV history, with around 177 million people tuning in for at least six minutes of the game. (Surely to see some of the commercials). That's around 56% of the current U.S. population. By comparison, an estimated 126 million people voted in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
While Super Bowl halftime shows have a history of controversy, from Janet Jackson's indecent exposure to M.I.A.'s extended middle finger last year, this year comes prepackaged with a bit of controversy. This year's halftime show headliner, Beyonce, drew criticism after she reportedly lip-synced the national anthem during President Obama's inauguration two weeks ago.
At a press conference on Thursday, Beyonce announced her intention to sing live during the halftime show and attempted to silence her critics by doing an impromptu live rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." "I will absolutely be singing live," Beyonce informed the press. "This is what I was born to do."
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