Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI sampling of 10.4 million unique viewers across its marathon run on Super Bowl Sunday is down from last year’s franchise-best sampling of 13.5 million viewers. That said, the canine competition dominated the field of adorable-animal bowl shows and other Super Bowl counterprogramming franchises that have sprung up since Puppy Bowl launched the genre. PBXI’s Sunday 3-5 PM ET premiere was the No. 1 cable telecast across the day among all major demos — excluding sports, naturally — including its total viewer average of 2.8 million viewers. Last year’s premiere telecast had averaged 3.3 million viewers, which had been an increase of 24% compared with the previous year. Last year, the pooch parade also had put Animal Planet in second place — behind only Super Bowl-host Fox — across key demos.
Animal Planet took a slightly different approach to Puppy Bowl this year; for the first time, there was competitive scoring, between Team Ruff and Team Fluff, as well as goat cheerleaders, and a cat in a blue wig named Katty Furry for the day headlined the halftime show.
In the social and digital arenas, Puppy Bowl continued its reign as the No. 1 social non-Super Bowl event in all of television for the day, according to Nielsen SocialGuide. It reached more than 17 million fans, trending all night on Facebook and generating 10 unique U.S. and Worldwide Trending Topics on Twitter. Celebrities who dove in included Drew Carey, Rob Thomas, Johnny Weir, Sophia Bush, Jim Norton, Billy Eichner and Patton Oswalt, the Discovery Communications network said.
Puppy Bowl videos – from the first Puppy Bowl XI Pre-Game Show, to returning Puppy Profiles, game highlights and live cams – generated nearly 2.5 million streams. Puppy Bowl XI Fantasy Game participation was up nearly 50% from last year’s inaugural league, with fan engagement more than doubling, the network said.