NFL: Super Bowl LV TV Ratings Revealed, Sets Streaming Record

by Matthew Wilson

Sunday’s Super Bowl LV just broke a streaming record for CBS and its affiliates. But overall, ratings were down this year compared to last.

According to Variety, an average of 96.4 million people watched the NFL’s big game. This was below the 100 million viewer benchmark.

But in a bit of bright news for both the network and CBS, the Super Bowl set a record for streaming compared to previous years. According to CBS, the NFL game garnered 5.7 million viewers via streaming. This shows a continued change in viewer habits and how increasingly American’s are moving away from traditional cable boxes for streaming.

So how does this Super Bowl stack against years previous? Ratings were down five percent this year compared to last year’s match up against Kansas City and San Francisco. That game garnered around 102 million total viewers. But the 2020 game aired on Fox and its affiliates.

To examine a CBS game versus a CBS game, let’s go back to the 2019 contest between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. In total, CBS averaged 100.7 million viewers across its platforms, of which 98.2 million viewers watched via live broadcast.

Based on these comparisons, this year’s Super Bowl has the lowest total viewership since 2007. During that year, only around 93 million Americans watched the Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears.

Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl

Ratings have been the narrative of the 2020-2021 season, with fluctuating viewership tallies. Several have theorized the reason for rating lows, especially early in the season. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and viewers being turned off by the League’s political statements have been thrown around as potential causes.

Sunday’s ratings weren’t helped by a game that could be considered boring at worst and foregone at best. It was supposed to be an exciting clash between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Two of the best of their respective generations. Kansas City was the defending champions coming into the big game. Meanwhile, Brady led Tampa Bay to only their second Super Bowl ever, as the oldest quarterback to ever make it to the championship.

But it quickly became the Brady-variety hour. Kansas City sputtered from the start with several mental errors throughout that cost them the game. The lack of tension perhaps led to some turning off their televisions or switching to another program. Either way, Brady probably won’t be complaining, considering he nabbed the seventh ring of his career.