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Super Bowl ads score better early

Too early Wednesday morning I attended a presentation on sports media consumption by executives from Nielsen at the Harvard Club on 44th St.

Before swiping a logoed Harvard note pad as a souvenir, I gleaned all sorts of statistics of interest mostly to fellow ratings geeks.

I will share some of them here anyway.

First, a timely fact about Super Bowl ads: You might think the best part of the game to run an ad is late in a close contest, but it turns out that by far the most value in terms of recall and likeability comes early in the game.

Those factors peak in the first quarter and tail off predictably and dramatically from there, presumably as people become more focused on the game itself and the novelty of focusing on the commercials wanes.

Random other statistics I found interesting:

Fifty-one percent of people say they enjoy watching Super Bowl commercials more than the game.

There were 43,700 hours of sports on American television in 2009.

DVR penetration is up to 37 percent of U.S. homes, with far more non-sports television being time-shifted than sports programs.

Sports ratings are 21 percent higher in homes with HDTV.

Markets with the top average local ratings in 2009 for  . . . 

Baseball: Boston (9.3), St. Louis (8.6), Philadelphia (7.1), Detroit (6.8).

NASCAR: Knoxville (11.1), Greenville (10.5), Greensboro (9.1), Charlotte (8.8).

NBA: Cleveland (8.1), San Antonio (8.1), Portland (5.7), Salt Lake City (5.7).

College basketball: Louisville (7.4), Raleigh (4.8), Greensboro (4.1), Kansas City (3.6).

College football: Birmingham (13.4), Columbus (10.8), Oklahoma City (9.6), Austin (8.6).

NFL: New Orleans (41.6), Pittsburgh (40.6), Cincinnati (36.5), Minneapolis (34.3).

NHL: Buffalo (7.9), Pittsburgh (6.3), Detroit (3.8), Minnesota (2.6).

Golf: Fort Myers (5.6), West Palm Beach (4.4), Orlando (4.4), Greenville (4.3).

Soccer: Seattle (0.5), Los Angeles (0.3), Houston (0.3), Las Vegas (0.2.).

Tennis: West Palm Beach (3.7), Richmond (3.1), Fort Myers (2.8), Baltimore (2.6).

New York Sports