Super Bowl Viewership Falls To Lowest Since 2008 In Historically Low Scoring Game – Update

Tom Brady Super Bowl
Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

UPDATE, 2:14 PM: The score for the New England Patriots’ win yesterday over the Los Angeles Rams was historically low and so is the viewership for Super Bowl LIII.

The CBS broadcast game out of Atlanta was seen by a total audience of 100.7 million, according to CBS Sports.

That number comes from when you add up everyone who watched on CBS the network, CBS Interactive, NFL digital properties, Verizon Media mobile properties, ESPN Deportes television and other digital properties. Besides being a very unique bundling spin on Super Bowl numbers that previous broadcasters haven’t shamelessly taken, that’s the first time the NFL’s big game on a network as fallen beneath 100 million viewers since 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII.

With no mention of how the tepid Maroon 5 led halftime show did, CBS are keeping the actual number of eyeballs that saw the game on the network alone close to the chest. However, I hear that it is very close on the low side to the 98.7 million of 2009’s Super Bowl XLIII.

The actual number of people who watched the 6:32 to 10:05 PM ET game on CBS itself was 98.2 million

Which means, without CBS’s sleight of bundled hand, last night’s game is down just over 5% in total audience from last year’s Super Bowl on NBC. Compared to the last time the net had the big NFL game in 2016, the sewn together number of 2019 Super Bowl took a tumble of 12%.

In terms of post-game play, the news was much better for CBS and hence they played it more straightforwardly.

Unencumbered by overtime or any other delays that have hobbled previous post-Super Bowl slot holders, the 10 30 PM ET premiere of the James Cordon hosted and EP’d competition series The World’s Best pulled in around 22.2 million sets of eyeballs with an 18-49 demo rating of 7.0.

While down 18% in viewership from what the special Super Bowl themed episode of This Is Us snared on NBC last year after the Eagles’ win over the Patriots, World’s Best has a pretty impressive calling card now. The Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles and Faith Hill judged show is the most watched post big game offering for CBS since the Undercover Boss opener followed Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 with 38.6 million viewers and a 16.2 rating. The World’s Best is also the most watched series debut on any net since that February 7, 2019 Undercover Boss premiere and the most watched and highest rated entertainment show since the 2018 Oscars.

World’s Best now goes to 8 PM on February 6 and then shifts up to 9 PM starting on February 20.

Also shifting a bit from its perch right after the last time CBS had the Super Bowl three years ago, a special The Late Show With Stephen Colbert brought its game face to late Sunday night last night. Drawing in an audience of 5.52 million, the Late Show had its third best viewership ever. Flipping in a sense with Corden from this year, the Late Show had an audience of 21.12 million coming off the Denver Broncos’ win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in 2016. That was the best the show has ever done after its 1993 debut with David Letterman.

Which seems, like so many of the Super Bowl comparisons and otherwise, like another world.

Speaking of this world or at least this Peak TV era, streaming for Super Bowl LIII was up 19% in terms of minutes consumed yesterday to 560 million. Overall and on a variety of platforms from CBS and the NFL and with some coverage issues on Spectrum early in the game, the average minute audience of 2.6 million viewers during the actual game itself rose 31% over 2018 – which CBS were sure to add to their limping totals.

PREVIOUSLY, 6:51 AM: The New England Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last night wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl ever played by any measure, but the 2019 NFL championship game was sure one for the history books.

First of all, in the Patriots’ third consecutive visit to Super Bowl, the matchup in Atlanta on Sunday was the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, a dubious honor at best. The record had been held by Super Bowl VII, which saw the Miami Dolphins best the Washington Redskins 14-7 on January 14, 1973.

Secondly, Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is now the first NFL player to win six Super Bowl rings. With this sixth Super Bowl win for the Patriots, the 41-year-old also has been in nine Super Bowls over his career, more than any other NFL player ever.

However, when it comes to ratings, Super Bowl LIII is not one anyone’s going to want to brag about. Shown on CBS for the first time since 2016 and with ad spots going for around $5 million each, the Rams’ loss scored a 44.9/68 in metered market results.

To put that in the starkest light of day, that’s a dip of more than 5% from Super Bowl LII February 4, 2018 on NBC in the first round of ratings. On a larger playing field and amidst a call for a boycott of the game due to the league’s “racist” treatment of Colin Kaepernick, Sunday’s metered market result is the worst the Super Bowl has done in the early numbers since the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals on February 1, 2009.

A tight and seamlessly flowing offering from the network, yesterday’s Super Bowl also is down a bit more than 8% from the metered markets of the last time CBS had the game three years ago. That game, Super Bowl 50, saw the Denver Broncos top the Carolina Panthers 24-10 on February 7, 2016 in a gridiron clash that eventually resulted in 111.9 million viewers and the honor at the time of being the third most-watched show in U.S. TV history.

The lowest-rated Super Bowl in eight years in the early metrics, last year’s 41-33 win by the Philadelphia Eagles over the Patriots ended up with 103.4 million viewers, a nine-year low – so far.

Last night’s postgame premiere of James Corden-fronted reality series The World’s Best pulled in a 14.0 in the metered markets according to Nielsen numbers this morning. While unscripted apples to dramatic oranges, that’s a drop of almost 14% from the special Super Bowl episode of NBC’s This Is Us that aired after last year’s Eagles’ win. Compared to the debut of Undercover Boss on CBS back in the ancient TV days of 2010, the last time an unscripted show premiered on the net right after the Super Bowl, the series fronted by judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles and Faith Hill was down 31% in the metered markets.

No surprise for such a low-scoring game that didn’t see a single touchdown for ages, Super Bowl LIII peaked near the end with a 47.3 in metered markets in the 9:30-10 PM ET slot.

As we now turn our gaze to Super Bowl LIV set for next year in Miami, we’ll update with more Super Bowl LIII numbers, including that tepid Maroon 5 halftime show and The World’s Best debut later, as more data comes in.

As we have done in the past, let’s put the latest Super Bowl in greater perspective by checking out the Top 5 Super Bowl metered market ratings ever – a list that this year’s game is certainly not a part of:

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)

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