- Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets projects the Cincinnati Bengals' 33-year Super Bowl drought could benefit Best Buy sales.
The Kansas City Chiefs have the biggest star in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But the Cincinnati Bengals would be the better AFC team for the 2022 Super Bowl among the remaining National Football League playoff teams, at least for Best Buy.
Loop Capital Markets, in a note to clients this week, tried to determine which Super Bowl matchup would drive the most sales of new TVs and home theaters at the retailer. It concluded a Cincinnati Bengals versus Los Angeles Rams matchup would benefit the retailer most.
Loop Capital used "metropolitan statistical area" metrics to assist in determining the population size of a city and surrounding counties. The MSA for Cincinnati and Los Angeles is 15.5 million, combined. The clubs' combined 36 years since they last appeared in a Super Bowl — 33 of those years belonging to the Bengals' absence — would also favor potential sales, Loop said.
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The firm determined that a contest between the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers "would be the least desirable outcome" for Best Buy, given there's only been a combined three years since the last Super Bowl appearance of the teams, and the smaller combined local fan populations.
The NFL is coming off one of its most-watched playoff weekends after the Chiefs' thrilling win over the Buffalo Bills. The game averaged 42.7 million viewers and peaked at more than 51 million people who watched Mahomes lead the Chiefs to a 42-36 victory.
The Chiefs star led a drive with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 36. He also threw the game-winning touchdown in overtime to advance the team to its fourth consecutive AFC championship. CBS Sports' telecast was the most-watched divisional postseason game on any network since 2017.
On Saturday, the network also aired the Bengals playoff win over the top-seeded Tennessee Titans. That game averaged 30.7 million viewers and peaked at 38.3 million.
So why the Bengals?
Loop estimated the "national interest" among football fans would prefer watching Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, noting he's also "just two years removed from winning a college national championship." And first-year Rams quarterback Matt Stafford "would garner a fair amount of interest," too.
The team won its first playoff game in 31 years after beating the Las Vegas Raiders in the wild card contest on Jan. 15. Despite appearing in the Super Bowl twice (1981 and 1988 seasons), the Bengals have never won an NFL championship.
Mahomes' revenge also intriguing
But national interest doesn't completely rule out the Chiefs.
Mahomes squaring off against Stafford was the second most favorable matchup in the note. The combined MSA of those two NFL cites is 15.4 million combined. Also, Best Buy's "33 stores in the combined fanbase areas would be the highest of the potential matchups," wrote Loop Capital managing director Anthony Chukumba.
And the Chiefs know all about Super Bowl droughts.
The team won its first NFL title in 50 years in 2020 after beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Before that, the last time the Chiefs last appeared in a Super Bowl was in 1970. The Chiefs couldn't pull off a repeat last year, though, falling to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Loop estimates there'd be national attention around Mahomes' looking to redeem the Chiefs and joining the list of quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins in their fifth year in the NFL.
No love for the 49ers
Though the Chiefs, Bengals, and Rams are Loop's choice of teams that would favor more television sales for Best Buy, the firm shows little love for the 49ers. This is a bit surprising, especially since the 49ers are one of the more popular NFL teams.
The 49ers' wild card win over the Dallas Cowboys drew 41.5 million viewers. The win over the Green Bay Packers last week attracted 36.9 million viewers. And the team's loss to the Chiefs in the 2020 Super Bowl drew 100 million viewers on Fox.
Last season's Mahomes-Brady Super Bowl game was the worst-rated since 2007, with only 96.4 million viewers on CBS Sports. This year, NBC network will host the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. The network last aired the game in 2018.
The 49ers also have wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who is quickly becoming a rising star. But Loop projects a Bengals-49ers contest would be "suboptimal" for Best Buy due to the combined MSA of roughly 7 million people living in the Cincinnati and San Francisco areas.
Loops noted Best Buy's 26 stores in the combined territories, and with "notable exception of Burrow, we think national interest in the game would be fairly limited — particularly given the 49ers' fairly descript roster (including Garoppolo) who is perennially viewed as being one more mediocre game from losing his starting job."
Meanwhile, a Super Bowl 2020 rematch would represent "the worst of the four possibilities for Best Buy television sales" due to the combined 6.9 million MSA population and possible Chiefs fatigue, as the team has played in two straight Super Bowls.
"While the Chiefs feature well-known players such as Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, we think the 49ers' aforementioned largely 'no name' roster would force reporters to work overtime to concoct compelling national 'story lines.'"
"On the bright side," Loop concluded, "with the 49ers having eliminated the Green Bay Packers, a potential Super Bowl boycott by 'immunized' quarterback Aaron Rodgers is no longer a possible overhang."
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.
Correction: This story has been updated to show the network that aired the 2020 Super Bowl.