After a regular season which saw a 9.7 percent decline in viewership, the trend continued for the Super Bowl with a 7.1 percent drop from last season’s game. 103.4 million people tuned in to NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl 52, which was the lowest number since 2009.
With the decline in television ratings throughout the regular season and playoffs for the NFL, a similar drop-off was expected for the Super Bowl. Even with it being the lowest watched Super Bowl in nine years, Sunday’s game was still the 10th most watched program in U.S. television history.
The total audience number, which includes digital streaming and linear television viewers, was 106 million, which is still the lowest rated Super Bowl since 2009. 2009 was the last time the Super Bowl failed to reach 100 million viewers. NBC’s previous Super Bowl broadcast came in 2015, setting the record as the most watched program in American television history, garnering 114.4 million viewers. With an average of 2 million viewers streaming the event, peaking at 3.1 million, this year’s Super Bowl is believed to be the largest domestic streaming sports program ever.
“With an all-time Top 10 audience, the Super Bowl once again proved that it’s the most dominant and consistent property on television,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said in a statement. “Super Bowl LII delivered for all of our partners, and provided us with the unique opportunity to give America a look ahead at the Olympic Winter Games, which begin live on NBC this Thursday night.”
Although the NFL continues to see a decline in ratings, advertisers still believe in the sport and the Super Bowl. At a cost of $5 million per 30 second commercial, NBC estimates earning $500 million in Super Bowl ad sales. Live television still draws larger audiences than other programs and a $5 million ad to be viewed by more than 100 million people is not a bad investment.