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Super Bowl Ratings Crash

A day later, Super Bowl LV’s ratings are in, and they are not great. CBS says the game drew just 96.4 million viewers, including out-of-home viewership, down from 113 million last year.

The TV presentation alone drew 91.6 million viewers, the lowest since 93.2 million tuned in to watch the Colts-Bears on CBS in 2007.

Streaming, however, was the Super Bowl’s sole bright spot with an average minute audience of 5.7 million, up 65% from a season ago.

I expected the ratings to dip year-over-year for a few reasons. Given the Super Bowl’s reach, which tops even presidential debates, it’s uniquely vulnerable to cord-cutting. That problem isn’t going away and is more of a threat each year. Secondly, the NFL went all-in on social topics during the pre-game. Despite what ESPN tells you, the more politics that are injected into sports, the more viewers tune out. Just ask the NBA about its record-low NBA Finals this season.

The game itself didn’t help the matter. It was bad. The first half was overshadowed by frustrating flags, the Chiefs’ beat-up offensive line turned the team’s must-see offense into an unpleasant viewing experience, and the game seemed over by halftime. The final score of 31-9 is a blowout, yet the full game felt even further out of reach than that. With fewer viewers attending Super Bowl parties due to COVID, the casual/only-watch-the-Super Bowl football viewers had little reason to keep watching the game.

I give the NFL an immense amount of credit for pulling this season off. It wasn’t easy. And though it was totally out of the league’s control, the gifted dream matchup of Brady vs. Mahomes was a dud. Save for former high football linemen, few fans get hyped up for a defensive line destroying backup offensive linemen. The viewership reflects that.

Super Bowl LV will still be the most-watched broadcast of the year, the NFL is still king, and the drop in viewership was foreseeable. However, there’s no way to spin this, the ratings here are not a win.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

23 Comments

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  1. The game is supposed to be a celebration and, most importantly, fun. The politics, for me, ruin it. I realized this during the season when I automatically muted every “socially conscious” ad. I hope all the major sports go back to celebrating what we love about them: the fun, the pure competition, the wonder at watching elite athletes do things that most of us cannot.

    • Yes, DVR is your friend. Record the games, FF through all the “it takes all of us” bull shit and just enjoy the games. I don’t need to be told everyone that didn’t vote for Joe Biden is racist, and I don’t need to be told who my heroes should be. I am good. Two loving parents raised me and two loving parents are raising my kids so we decide the values and what is right and wrong, not Joe Biden and his dictatorial party.

  2. Yeah all that social stuff has done real damage and it will be long lasting these leagues don’t seem to get it people don’t want to see that crap time will tell.Two guys have single handedly destroyed two professional sports league you have the queen James of course and kapernick two really ignorant dopes but the league kissed their asses so fans tuned out.

    • Every time the game went to commercial, I changed the channel. Damn sure didn’t bother with the halftime show either. Goodumbass let that woke virus infiltrate the game a 2nd time. Good luck trying to reestablish goodwill amongst those that turned off the NFL completely this time.

    • Sports is the next thing Leftism is destroying. Education is gone unless you go to a few select schools or home school. Sports was the great uniter. As a soon to be former Red Sox season ticket holder, if I’m in the stands and David Ortiz hits a walk off and you are sitting near me, you’re my best friend whether you are black, white, hispanic, asian, liberal, conservative, atheist, etc. It has been a unifying force in America, even with the rivalries between Boston and NY or Michigan and Ohio State, there was a common interest. Not anymore. We are seeing the destruction of sports and the community that supports it. I can see it happening and rather that it didn’t but I can’t support teams, leagues and media outlets that champion causes that are counter to my values and those of much of America. The Left wants chaos and discord and unfortunately they are getting it. Thank you Clay and the Outkick team and community. I had sworn off most of sports over the last year (NBA before that) and really didn’t follow anything until I found Outkick. It has brought some joy back being with like minded fans.

    • Ditto. Me and my lady sat in the family room and muted all commercials while reloading white claws. Cracked up at the halftime show. Didn’t even know who Weekend is? What a dud. Game was very enjoyable.

  3. I didn’t watch any of the pregame communism or any of the asinine commercials. I watched about ten seconds of that talentless puke the Weekend and his jock strap masked army. Just show us a game and leave the leftist political bull shit out. As long as the marxist racist communist commentary continues, my sports viewing will keep dwindling.

  4. First one I didn’t watch a minute of…and I’ve been watching them for almost 30 years. I like the competition of sports and watching athletic ability on the field…not social justice, halftime witchcraft, or having leftists project their own hatred onto my skin.,

  5. Like so many I had to mute or tune away from the social justice judging of me and most Americans. I love football, love the Superbowl but be careful NFL, you too could go down the road that the NBA is on. NFL is more likely to recover, I’m thinking the NBA has been damaged beyond repair. NCAA BBall as well.

  6. I would love to hear the discussion on Ad buys, rebates, or other concessions that will filter into the next contract negotiations. The guys that decided it would be a good idea to move away from the league wrapping itself in the flag to pissing on the flag don’t understand their consumers, and know nothing about the market they are starting to chase. Must have come from the “New” Coke was a good idea business school. Go back and re-watch the Giants Bills super bowl, see how you are supposed to treat the flag, and patriotism. That was how you create unity.

  7. I do not understand advertisers targeting only one half of who they want to sell their product to. What’s with all the corporate virtue signaling. Like others, I watched the game and changed channels during commercials. I refuse to watch jerkoffs like Bruce Springsteen.

  8. It’s funny. The progressives are attributing the ratings decline solely to game quality. I truly don’t get it – they mostly hate football as a traditionalist masculine endeavor – and they tried desperately to kill the season to sew misery among its fans – but they’re defending the ratings today. If you don’t mention that political lecturing is a driver of lower ratings it’s just not even a grown-up conversation. Thanks Bobby for discussing the multiple factors at play.

  9. I did NOT watch a play of this crap. You can talk “streaming” all you want, people have had it with these Marxist fools. Drop in viewership is from people with the cash. I don’t think muting commercials is the answer. Hit these dopes in the wallet and they will change. Agents think WOKE= $, I don’t think so.

  10. Watched a few minutes of SB to see if Brady could pull it off. Not a second of CFB National Ch, even though have family member in Tuscaloosa. At some point the powers that be will realize Antifa assholes don’t buy $300 Nikes or Cadillacs.

  11. I think we would all be a little better off if we would pay attention to the social crusaders who make a difference for all of us. We should at least give it a chance. Biden’s election shows he has been given a show of support for social justice.

  12. *103 million* last year. Not 113 million. LIV wasn’t the second highest viewership in SB history. But Sunday was the lowest rated (38.1) Super Bowl in 52 Years even with the aid of “out of home viewership.” Mahomes vs Brady deliver the worst ratings since 1969? Disaster of epic proportions. Do your job dude.

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