Super Bowl was a
big web deal, too

Football traffic jump, with ESPN.com out way ahead

By
Toni Fitzgerald

   Good thing thereís a week leading up to the Super Bowl to build drama, since the game itself destroyed any and all buzz in within the first quarter.
   In the days leading up to the highly anticipated matchup of the NFLís top defense (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and top offense (Oakland Raiders), fans searched the internet for pregame odds and Super Bowl references of any type.
   During any given month, sports-related web sites make up about a third of internet traffic, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
   Football is a hefty part of that boom. NFL.com audiences rose compared to last year during September and October, and by January, football sites reach their peak.
   Last week Nielsen//NetRatings reported nearly 12 million unique visitors to sports sites, representing 14 percent of the active online audience, as the NFC and AFC titles were decided.
   ESPN.com remained the most popular football-related site, attracting 3.8 million fans. The NFL Internet Network, which includes team home pages, was second with 2.3 million users.
   Though the Philadelphia Eagles couldnít manage to capture the NFC Championship, they did win most-visited team site honors in the week before their title game with Tampa Bay.
   The Eagles attracted 18.4 percent of the NFL Internet Network traffic, ahead of Tampaís 15.5 percent. AFC championship winner Oakland managed 11.1 percent, but their unsuccessful opponent in that game, the Tennessee Titans, barely managed half of that.
   In fact, the unfortunate Titans finished one spot in the weekly popularity contest behind the Dallas Cowboys, who havenít played since December.
   Apparently curiosity about the ĎBoysí new celebrity coach, Bill Parcels, outdrew interest in a potential Tennessee Super Bowl berth.
   About 1.9 million surfers logged on to eBay Sports, presumably searching for Super Bowl memorabilia or tickets. Prices for the latter reached high four figures in many cases and, oddly enough, were still available for sale as late as yesterday afternoon.
  Traffic to SuperBowl.com soared by 339 percent for the week ending Jan. 19. Nearly 1 million unique visitors logged onto the site, which includes rich media content such as game playbacks and audio from press conferences, as well as live chats and updated news feeds.
   Fans could also log onto the site Sunday to vote for the gameís MVP, which should result in another traffic spike.
   Only three non-football affiliated, non-general-interest sites even made the weekly sports web site top 10 for the week.
   The Official College Sports Network, the gateway to 65 percent of Division I college sports departments, was eighth with 737,000 users. NASCAR.com (nine) and the NBA Internet Network (10) were well behind, attracting a fourth of the audience of NFL.com.
   Thatís one more indicator of how far the so-called traditional sports, all except for football, have fallen this season. Major League Baseballís internet usage numbers were off this year, even during the World Series, which traditionally provides a lift.
   And NASCAR, which is not even in season, outdrew the NBA, which is. Thatís still better than the NHL, which is also in season but didnít make the top 10.

Top 25 parent companies
Through Jan. 19

#

Parent

Unique Audience (000)

Reach 
%

Time spent per person (hh:mm:ss)

1

AOL Time Warner

50,772

61.5

2:06:43

2

Microsoft

43,952

53.2

0:39:22

3

Yahoo!

38,507

46.6

0:49:11

4

Google

14,183

17.2

0:08:04

5

eBay

13,119

15.9

0:48:12

6

United States Government

9,823

11.9

0:11:22

7

Amazon

9,467

11.5

0:09:26

8

Terra Lycos

8,673

10.5

0:11:58

9

Sharman Networks

8,563

10.4

0:50:41

10

About-Primedia

8,438

10.2

0:09:38

11

RealNetworks

8,015

9.7

0:11:34

12

USA Interactive

6,840

8.3

0:13:24

13

Viacom International

5,848

7.1

0:13:56

14

Walt Disney Internet Group

5,016

6.1

0:09:41

15

EarthLink

4,982

6.0

0:45:54

16

Landmark Communications

4,838

5.9

0:07:12

17

AT&T

4,832

5.9

0:15:29

18

The Gator Corporation

4,562

5.5

0:01:52

19

eUniverse

4,483

5.4

0:08:59

20

United Online

4,416

5.4

1:00:38

21

Excite Network

4,238

5.1

0:28:32

22

WhenU

4,108

5.0

0:05:24

23

CNET Networks

4,105

5.0

0:07:57

24

Electronic Arts

4,085

5.0

1:33:26

25

Classmates

4,024

4.9

0:06:07

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings


Top 25 brands
Through Jan. 19

 

Parent

Unique Audience (000)

Reach 
%

Time spent per person (hh:mm:ss)

1

AOL

41,054

49.7

2:27:36

2

Yahoo!

38,503

46.6

0:49:11

3

MSN

36,225

43.9

0:38:27

4

Microsoft

30,372

36.8

0:11:07

5

Google

14,183

17.2

0:08:04

6

eBay

12,536

15.2

0:47:52

7

Amazon

9,149

11.1

0:08:24

8

KaZaA

8,563

10.4

0:50:41

9

Real

7,977

9.7

0:11:37

10

Lycos Networks

7,873

9.5

0:12:50

11

Netscape

6,425

7.8

0:11:53

12

About Network

5,292

6.4

0:09:08

13

AT&T

4,832

5.9

0:15:29

14

EarthLink

4,633

5.6

0:48:26

15

Gator Network

4,562

5.5

0:01:52

16

eUniverse

4,483

5.4

0:08:59

17

Weather Channel

4,458

5.4

0:06:59

18

WhenU.com

4,108

5.0

0:05:24

19

EA Online

4,085

5.0

1:33:26

20

Classmates.com

4,024

4.9

0:06:07

21

Apple

3,851

4.7

0:04:05

22

CNN

3,727

4.5

0:09:11

23

MapQuest

3,667

4.4

0:06:55

24

CallWave

3,403

4.1

0:05:20

25

Ticketmaster Network

3,380

4.1

0:13:13

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings


Top 25 advertisers 
(excludes house ads)
Through Jan. 19

#

Company

Impressions
 (000)

1

The Estee Lauder Companies Inc

832,236

2

Amazon.com, Inc.

831,630

3

Classmates Online, Inc.

622,297

4

NetFlix.com, Inc.

577,761

5

USA Interactive

576,717

6

Columbia House Company

524,503

7

CoolSavings, Inc.

450,268

8

Ameritrade Holding Corporation

443,515

9

Polaris Health, L.L.C.

438,295

10

Barnes & Noble, Inc.

424,235

11

Hewlett Packard Company

408,294

12

Bank One Corporation

390,739

13

Scottrade, Inc.

379,978

14

SBC Communications, Inc.

358,488

15

The Coca-Cola Company

351,045

16

The Charles Schwab Corporation

322,187

17

AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.

290,190

18

eDiets.com, Inc.

288,897

19

Sabre Inc.

283,613

20

Dell Computer Corporation

269,038

21

Netstock Corporation

263,529

22

X10 Wireless Technology, Inc.

259,428

23

AOL Time Warner Inc.

259,236

24

College Loan Corporation

253,563

25

PepsiCo, Inc.

219,452

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance

 

Top 25 advertising sites
(excludes house ads)
Through Jan. 19

#

Company

Impressions
 (000)

1

Yahoo!

5,794,357

2

MSN

3,501,387

3

AOL.com

1,886,622

4

iWon

796,262

5

Netscape

507,250

6

CBS MarketWatch

452,083

7

eBay

396,040

8

MSNBC

369,458

9

Classmates

264,243

10

The Weather Channel

245,353

11

CompuServe

214,152

12

ESPN.com

204,319

13

Prodigy

191,661

14

Excite

189,844

15

CNN

181,957

16

AT&T Worldnet

160,746

17

FreeRealTime.com

154,787

18

NetZero

128,648

19

The New York Times

127,101

20

AutoTrader.com

119,315

21

Home & Garden Television

109,467

22

CBS SportsLine

108,994

23

Juno

103,138

24

Expedia

102,307

25

Webshots

100,726

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance

 

Average use
Through Jan. 19

 

Values

Current Week

Last Week

% Change

Number of Sessions/
Visits per Week

9

9

0.00

Number of Domains Visited per Week

19

19

0.00

Time Spent per Week

7:44:32

7:42:41

0.40

Time Spent During Web Visit

0:50:17

0:49:55

0.73

Active Digital Media Universe

94,264,196

94,362,185

-0.10

Current Digital Media Universe Estimate

172,061,672

172,062,176

0.00

Number of Sessions/Visits per Week

9

9

0.00

Number of Domains Visited per Week

19

19

0.00

Source: Nielsen//NetRating

January 28, 2003© 2003 Media Life


-Toni Fitzgerald is a staff writer for Media Life.


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