The NFL's Super Bowl in 2021 drew 96.4 million viewers. It's the fewest viewers in a Super Bowl since 2007, when the Indianapolis Colts faced the Chicago Bears. The previous all-time low was 2017, when 111 million people watched Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
The record for most viewers is 121 million in 2009. That's the most recent year available at time of writing. The game was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. The score was 45–31 Steeler victory over number 2 seed Cardinals.
Almost 100 million people watching a football game is a huge audience. And with advertising revenue estimated to be $400 million, the Super Bowl is still a lucrative event. It's just not as profitable as it used to be.
The big drop off in viewership happened in 2004 when George W. Bush was president and he played host to the Super Bowl XLVIII matchup between his Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democrat National Committee (DNC).
This game turned out to be one of the most controversial in history. The RNC hired former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to be their head coach. He had no experience with American football but that didn't stop him from trying out different tactics during the game.
In comparison, last year's Super Bowl drew just over 98 million people, the event's lowest viewership since 2008. This came after viewership for Super Bowl LI in 2017 fell to 103 million from just over 111 million the year before. It was the first time since 2009 that two consecutive Super Bowls drew fewer than 110 million viewers.
The 2018 game was also played in Atlanta, which has a population of about 5 million. The city had previously hosted the 1996 Olympics in field hockey.
Super Bowl LII was played on February 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis/St. Paul. It was the second time that the city has hosted the game (the first being University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome). It was also the first Super Bowl held in Minnesota since XIX won by Pittsburgh against Philadelphia in 1976.
The National Football League (NFL) championship is an annual match between the winners of the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and the premier football league in America. The NFL was founded in 1920 as a reaction to the rough play of the early American Football League. The NFL started as a single-division league with 14 teams but now includes 12 general division teams and two wild-card teams.
Nonetheless, the Super Bowl is likely to be this year's most viewed television show. The Super Bowl was seen by 91.6 million people on CBS on Sunday, the fewest viewers for the event on regular broadcast television since 2006. The previous low was 2009 when 88 million people watched Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots 41-33 in one of the more controversial finishes in Super Bowl history.
The number of viewers dropped 16 percent from 2008 when 98 million people watched Barack Obama and the Chicago Bears defeat John McCain and the Arizona Cardinals 31-26 in another close finish. Last year's game was also the least-viewed Super Bowl ever with 100 million people watching Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots 42-40.
This is the first time in six years that the Super Bowl won't be seen by more than 100 million people. In 2007, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-22 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicates. That game was seen by 106 million people.
CBS announced after the game that Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a torn ACL during the championship game and will miss the entire season.
Tannehill was 8-4 last season when he played in 12 games for the Dolphins before being injured.
The 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks had the largest television audience ever for a Super Bowl. That game garnered 114.4 million viewers in the United States and an estimated 30–50 million worldwide. To be fair, they are large numbers, but they pale in contrast to the amount of World Cup spectators. The 2014 World Cup had around 450 million people watching at least part of one of the games.
The Super Bowl has always been popular but its popularity has increased over time. In 1967, when the first Super Bowl was played, the average American household had two TV sets. Now they have more than one per household. More people are able to watch the game on TV because there are more channels available and also because games today are longer than they used to be. In 1967, the last time the Super Bowl was held, it lasted only 1 hour and 15 minutes because it took that long for Green Bay to beat Chicago 42-0. Today's games often go beyond three hours because there are so many more players involved and also because fans want to see everything happen within the time limit.
In addition, people love sports cars and expensive things, so these events tend to attract many viewers who would not usually watch football. For example, about half of all Americans watched at least some of the 2007 Super Bowl between Pittsburgh and Arizona because it was such a historic game with both teams having new stadiums.