Overnight ratings reveal that Sunday’s Super Bowl saw a 3 percent ratings drop compared to last year.
NBC garnered a 47.4 overnight metered market rating for the game, meaning that 47.4 percent of homes in 56 U.S. TV markets tuned into Super Bowl LII, CNN reported, citing Nielsen numbers.
Though those statistics are not final, they represent a decrease from the 48.8 overnight rating that the 2017 Super Bowl — broadcast on Fox — received.
The 3 percent drop, while it may not seem significant, means that Sunday’s game was the lowest-rated Super Bowl since 2010, when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts.
In 2010, roughly 106.4 million people watched the big game, while CBS’ broadcast got a 46.4 in metered market ratings results.
Meanwhile, final viewership numbers from 2017, when the New England Patriots came back to beat the Atlanta Falcons, showed that 111.3 million people tuned in at some point during the contest, including a 37.1 rating in the key demographic of adults between the ages of 18 and 49, according to Deadline.
Sunday’s contest, which featured the Philadelphia Eagles beating the Patriots, also represented a 5 percent drop in metered market ratings when compared to 2015, the last time NBC broadcast the Super Bowl.
That game, in which, the Patriots beat Seattle Seahawks, was watched by a record 114.4 million people. The contest also got a 39.1 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.
Super Bowl LII’s early ratings numbers were up 9 percent from 2005, which was the last time the Patriots and Eagles faced off in the NFL championship game.
As noted by CNN, it’s difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many people actually watched the Super Bowl, partly due to the fact that Nielsen doesn’t know how many viewers watched the game at bars, restaurants or Super Bowl parties.
Still, early estimates reveal a continuing downward trend for the NFL.
According to ESPN, TV ratings for the 2017 regular season were down 9.7 percent from 2016.
“A typical game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people this season as compared to last season (14.9 million versus 16.5 million),” the outlet reported.
One reason that has been cited as a contributing factor to the ratings drop is the controversy surrounding players who refuse to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. President Donald Trump has strongly criticized the anthem protests in a series of statements and tweets.
As The Western Journal reported, the relationship between Trump and NFL players has been strained all year, particularly after a September rally where the president called for the “sons of b—–s” who kneel during the anthem to be “fired.”
On Sunday, Trump released a statement prior to the Super Bowl, in which he emphasized the importance of honoring service men and women by standing for the anthem.
“We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” Trump said.
“We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
No players kneeled during the anthem Sunday, though Eagles players Malcom Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Rodney McLeod all raised their fists, according to New York Magazine.
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