This study examines the effect of a major televised sporting event, the Super Bowl, on emergency department (ED) census. Daily patient census figures for the month of January 1988-1992 were obtained. Individual shift census was divided by monthly mean census to compare relative volume. Census figures for 4 of the 5 Super Bowl days were significantly lower than the remaining 143 days studied. The day of the Super Bowl was the month's slowest shift for 3 of the 5 days. When the local team was a playoff participant, a stronger association was noted. The results demonstrate a significant decrease in ED utilization coinciding with the Super Bowl broadcast. Major televised events can significantly decrease ED volume, especially when local interest is present. Staffing changes may then be made accordingly.