UPDATE, 1:13 PM: As late as it went and as rowdy as it got, the City of Brotherly Love made pretty swift progress this morning picking up the debris of last night’s victory celebrations for the Philadelphia Eagles’ first Super Bowl win ever.
The official parade in Philly for the 41-33 triumph over the New England Patriots isn’t until February 8 but there is certainly one element of Super Bowl LII that wasn’t champion – the ratings
With 103.4 million watching, last night’s game on NBC from Minneapolis is down 7% from the total set of network eyeballs from the 2017 Super Bowl. A steeper fall than even the declining the stock market today, that’s the worst the Super Bowl has done since 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 defeat of the Arizona Cardinals scored 98.7 million viewers.
Last night’s Super Bowl is now pegged as the 10th most watch program in American TV history just after the M.A.S.H. finale of February 1983. Staying Top 10 must feel good and sting at the same time for NBC as the most watched program in U.S. television history is the 114.4 million who watched the 2015 Super Bowl – which was the last time the net had the big game.
Adding another 2.6 million viewers via NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NBC.com TV Everywhere, Universo, En Vivo app, NFL.com, NFL Mobile from Verizon, the Yahoo Sports app, and go90, the Comcast-owned network says its absolute total viewership of 106 million.
In an age of increasing streaming options and coming off a NFL season that was dogged by controversy and double digit ratings drops, the broadcast viewership decline from the Patriots’ win last year in Houston on Fox is really no surprise. Earlier today, metered market results for the 6:31 – 10:25 PM ET game were down 3% from the 2017 big game to an eight-year low for the Super Bowl.
Stumble was also the takeaway from Justin Timberlake’s halftime show of Super Bowl LII. The return of the Grammy winning singer to the big game stage for the first time in 14-years was a series of misfires and banalities almost from start to finish with a misjudged Prince tribute of sorts in the middle. Lacking a showstopper moment anything like what the Purple One did for his entire 2007 Super Bowl halftime show or the Nipplegate wardrobe malfunction that plagued Janet Jackson onstage with Timberlake back in 2004, the Trolls star snared 106.6 million viewers in his 14-minute performance that started at 8:19 PM ET last night.
Slotted in the 8:15 – 8:30 PM ET period by NBC, Timberlake is down 9% from how Lady Gaga did for her 13-minute Super Bowl halftime show last year. It wasn’t near the best, but Gaga’s pretty conservative performance was the second most watched halftime show ever. The most watched Super Bowl halftime show is Katy Perry’s shark-filled 2015 performance at Super Bowl XLIX with its total TV audience of 120.7 million.
After the game, NBC’s airing of a Super Bowl themed episode of This Is Us was a big success for the net and the Dan Fogelman-created show.
Whipping up to 27.0 million viewers with its revelations of a parental death, the 10:45 – 11:49 PM ET This Is Us hit a series viewership high. The 14th episode of the show’s second season was also the most viewed scripted show for NBC since the May 6, 2004 ER that followed the Friends finale. Up 53% over the debut of 24: Legacy on Fox after Super Bowl LI last year, last night’s This Is Us is additionally the most watched drama on any of the Big 4 since the 29.1 million who clicked on the February 3, 2008 episode of House that followed Super Bowl XLII on Fox.
So, as we whip almost straight into the start of the Winter Olympics later this week and then the Oscars and then … well, you get it. Let’s wait to see who is on the field next year for Super Bowl LIII at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:38 AM: As emotional as NBC’s This Is Us was last night, it couldn’t lay a historical glove on the relentless drama of Super Bowl LII, as the Philadelphia Eagles beat the skeptics and the New England Patriots to win their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Scoring a 41-33 victory over odds-on favorite Tom Brady and crew, the City of Brotherly Love’s win Sunday also prevented the defending champion Patriots from claiming a sixth Super Bowl to match the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most wins ever.
However, for the NFL and broadcasters pummeled with double-digit ratings drops this season, the number that really matters right now is the 47.4/70 in metered market ratings that yesterday’s Super Bowl delivered. Dipping by a slight 3% from the earliest numbers of last year’s Patriots’ 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday’s game is looking to be the ninth highest-rated Super Bowl ever. With more streaming options than ever this year, last night’s game is up 9% in metered market results compared with when the Patriots and Eagles last clashed in the NFL title game, at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
However, Sunday’s Super Bowl also saw a decline of 5% in metered market results from the last time NBC had the big game on February 1, 2015, when the Patriots faced off against then-champs the Seattle Seahawks. Overall, last night’s game peaked in the high-stakes fourth quarter with a 52.2/74.
All in all, Super Bowl LII is currently the lowest rated since Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, when the New Orleans Saints thrashed the Indianapolis Colts on CBS. That first Super Bowl appearance and win for the Saints garnered a 46.4 in metered market ratings.
Even before the results were in for last night’s game, another voice was added to the chorus of praise for the Eagles. While Donald Trump passed on the traditional Presidential sit-down with the Super Bowl-broadcasting network Sunday, Tom Brady’s pal did take to social media for a few words after all the hoopla had left the field at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium:
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
Also drawing compliments from POTUS when the Patriots won, last year’s Super Bowl on Fox ended up with a final viewership of 111.3 million and a 37.1 rating among adults 18-49. The Patriots’ winning Super Bowl XLIX of 2015 currently holds the title of most watched ever with 114.4 million viewers tuning in on NBC. That game delivered a 39.1 rating among the key demo.
Focusing in a bit more on where things could end up this year, the 201o Super Bowl drew a total TV crowd of 106.4 million and a rating of 38.6.
Starting at 10:45 PM ET, the postgame “Super Bowl Sunday” episode of This Is Us captured a 16.2 in metered market results, according to Nielsen. The 32nd episode in the run of the Dan Fogelman-created series and the highest-rated episode so far of the ratings hit, last night’s NFL-connected offering was up just more than 51% from Fox’s 11 PM ET-starting premiere of 24: Legacy after Super Bowl LI.
Even though it faced counterprogramming of sorts from Netflix’s suddenly announced release of The Cloverfield Paradox, Sunday’s This Is Us was the highest-rated post-Super Bowl offering since NBC aired The Voice at 10:15 PM ET in 2012. Last night’s fiery episode of the Emmy-winning series was also up 21% in metered market numbers from NBC’s The Blacklist in 2015, the network’s most recent post-Super Bowl presentation. That 10:38 PM ET start of the second-season episode of the James Spader-led series eventually pulled in an 8.4 rating among the 18-49s and 25.72 million viewers.
In This Is Us to This Is Us comparisons, last night’s airing certainly had Super Bowl bounce, with an 80% uptick over the series’ past metered market high of its Season 1 finale on March 14 last year.
NBC continued the Super Bowl celebrations with a 12:24 AM ET debuting The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon early this morning. Coming from the Minnesota city and featuring the cast of This Is Us plus Dwayne Johnson, the late-nighter grabbed a 5.7 in metered markets, up 4% from the last post-Super Bowl Tonight Show in 2015. It is now the third highest-rated episode of the Fallon era, topped only by two post-Winter Olympic episodes from the ex-Saturday Night Live cast member’s debut week in 2014.
We’ll update with more Super Bowl and This Is Us numbers plus the ratings for the Justin Timberlake halftime show as we get them later today. Until then, put last night’s game in further perspective by checking out the Top 5 Super Bowl metered market ratings ever:
1) 2015: 49.7 – Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks (NBC)
2) 2016: 49.0 – Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers (CBS)
3) 2017: 48.8 – Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons (Fox)
4) 2013: 48.1 – Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers (CBS)
5) 2011: 47.9 – Super Bowl XLV: Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Fox)