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Sunday night’s Super Bowl LII was thrilling from start to finish. The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles played exceptional football, and thanks to a flawless performance from Nick Foles and a late strip sack from Brandon Graham, the Eagles won their first Super Bowl, and their first championship since 1960.
Super Bowl ratings are always big, but just how big were the ratings for this year’s installment? The Hollywood Reporter has the early numbers: Super Bowl LII pulled a 47.4 overnight rating. That’s a 3 percent drop from 2017’s Super Bowl 51, which pulled a 48.8 in early numbers. That 3 percent decline from 2017 isn’t a huge slide, but it represents an eight-year low in household viewership for the Super Bowl. It is, however, a 9 percent increase over the last Eagles-Pats Super Bowl in 2005.
The overall numbers tell a similar story.
106 million across all platforms. Down around 6 million viewers or around 5% vs. last year. https://t.co/inndce9aE7
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 5, 2018
So the individual viewership numbers were down a bit — slightly more than the early household metered market numbers — but it’s still a good showing. In fact, the TV numbers alone (which came in at 103.4 million viewers — were good enough to earn the broadcast a place in the top ten most-watched TV programs in history. It’s sitting at No. 10, right behind the MASH finale, which garnered 106 million viewers in 1983.
NBC provided local numbers, and of course the game demolished in the ratings. It was the top-rated Super Bowl of all time in Philadelphia, pulling a 56.2 metered market rating. The numbers for Boston were slightly less at 55.9, and it was just the fourth-highest rated Super Bowl out of the Patriots’ 10 appearances. Oddly, Buffalo pulled the highest local ratings of the night, at 56.4. Go figure.
The NFL has been plagued by viewership problems over the last few years. A lot of theories have been bandied about, from the style/pace of play, concussion and injury worries, anthem protests, cord cutting, oversaturation, and more. The Super Bowl is a whole different animal, though. People tune in not just for the football, but for the commercials and halftime show. It’s such a cultural event that even people who don’t care about any of those things might flip it on just so they know what everyone’s talking about at the office the next day.
Even though the early ratings numbers represent an eight-year low in households, a 3 percent drop in the Super Bowl is far from catastrophic. Considering that the NFL is dealing with a double-digit viewership decline over the regular season, a mere 3 percent drop can almost be considered a win.
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More Super Bowl coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Distraught Patriots star: ‘I could have changed that game’
• Gisele uses Patriots loss to teach kids about sharing
• Dan Wetzel: How a journeyman QB became Super Bowl MVP
• Charles Robinson: For Brady, tears and concerns over Pats’ dynasty