The ratings are in for Super Bowl LIII and it’s not looking great for the NFL right now. According to Nielson’s early ratings, the championship game was the least viewed Super Bowl in 10 years.
The game saw the New England Patriots competing against the Los Angeles Rams in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Rams reached the game on a controversial call against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Division Championship.
It’s unclear if an increased political stances being taken by NFL players are partly to blame for the decreased viewership or if it was simply due to a lackluster match-up and what many considered to be a very average halftime show. The fact that many Super Bowl commercials are also now available online prior to the game may deter those who watch for the year’s best ads from tuning in on game day as well.
According to the Hollywood Reporter who first released the ratings:
The New England Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII averaged a 44.9 household rating in overnight metered markets Sunday. That’s down 5 percent from a year ago and the lowest since the 2009 game drew a 42.1.
The audience peaked from 9:30-10 p.m. ET with a 47.3 for that half-hour, corresponding with the end of the game.
The 2018 Super Bowl posted a preliminary 47.4 in metered markets on its way to averaging 103.39 million viewers, the smallest audience for the game since 2009 — “smallest” being a relative term, as nothing else in the world of Nielsen-rated TV comes even within shouting distance of the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 was the last time the game averaged fewer than 100 million viewers.
The NFL’s own in house commercial on the other hand earned high praise from viewers as well as critics, with USA Today’s Ad Meter saying:
The New England Patriots won the game, but the NFL won the night.
The National Football League finished first in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter, a ranking of Super Bowl ads by consumer rating.
That’s a first for the NFL, which finished second in last year’s Ad Meter for a Dirty Dancing parody starring Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Amazon, which won last year’s crown, finished second this time, in both cases for ads featuring Alexa and a bevy of celebrities.