A Super Bowl played during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult to predict ratings with people not throwing as many parties or going to bars.
What Happened: Super Bowl LV featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs had an average of 96.4 million viewers on television and streaming platforms, according to Nielsen.
The viewership hit a 13-year low, down 9% from last year’s Super Bowl average of 102 million viewers. Ten of the last 11 Super Bowls had viewership of over 100 million. The previous low from the last ten years was 98.2 million in 2019.
The good news in the ratings figures were the streaming viewership, which hit a record. Super Bowl LV was the most live-streamed NFL contest ever with 5.7 million viewers on average, according to Axios. Streaming viewership was up 65% from last year’s Super Bowl.
Related Link: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Tom Brady
Why It’s Important: The results are an estimate of the average viewership during Super Bowl LV. This year’s game may have been tough to provide data for with restaurants and bars not airing the game and it being harder to track how many people were watching in each household.
The game resulted in a blowout with the Buccaneers winning 31-9 and viewership typically fades if the game isn't close. A close game can result in more viewers tuning in late in the second half if they weren’t watching previously.
The Super Bowl shows that when it comes to ratings, a competitive game matters more than any other factor. This game was the second biggest Super Bowl blowout in the last 18 years, per the CBS release.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) February 9, 2021
Streaming data from Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams shows that the streaming figures could help several companies that had a strong share of the game. Roku Inc ROKU and Amazon.com AMZN led the way with 41% and 24% share, respectively, of streaming viewership. Apple Inc AAPL had a 12% share for streaming with its AppleTV. Samsung ranked fourth with a share of 8%. Video game services from Sony Corp SNE and Microsoft Corporation MSFT each had 4% market share.
Impact On CBS: The 91.6 million viewers could be a disappointment for ViacomCBS Inc VIAC, but the company will still see a windfall of revenue from the low viewed Super Bowl. Thirty-second commercials commanded a record $5.5 million for the big game.
ViacomCBS was also able to promote its upcoming streaming service Paramount+ during the big game, which could lead to strong initial reception and brand awareness.
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