Sunday evening’s showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs scored the lowest Super Bowl household viewer ratings of any NFL championship game since Super Bowl III in 1969. Total viewers also hit their lowest levels since 2006.
Included in the 2021 Super Bowl viewer ratings were 91.63 million television watchers, per Nielsen, against 100.45 million TV viewers for Super Bowl LIV in 2020 and 98.19 million television viewers for 2019’s Super Bowl LIII. (The latter, encompassing a low-scoring Rams-Patriots game and a halftime show from Maroon 5, was the first Super Bowl since 2009 to generate beneath 100 million television viewers.)
Worth noting is that the Super Bowl LV viewership stats account for out-of-home viewing but “could see further increases via Digital in TV Ratings (DTVR) contribution,” Nielsen relayed. To be sure, the information and market-measurement firm released the Super Bowl’s audience specifics today, Tuesday the 9th – marking the first time to date that the figures haven’t been published on the Monday following the game.
Moreover, the big game secured a 38.2 U.S. household rating – compared to 41.6 in 2020 and 41.1 in 2019 – at a 68 percent household share (to 69 in 2020). In another less-than-encouraging stat, the 38.2 rating was the lowest of any Super Bowl since 1969, when Joe Namath and his New York Jets upset the Baltimore Colts in an AFL-NFL matchup.
It’s also the first time U.S. household rating dipped below 40.0 since 1990.
Fans in an average of 46.2 million homes watched Tom Brady clinch his first NFL championship for a team besides the New England Patriots, also according to the viewership stats, and an all-time-high of 5.7 million individuals livestreamed the game.
As an interesting aside, 30-second-long Super Bowl ad spots have nearly doubled in price since 2010, from $2.8 million to a reported $5.5 million for Super Bowl LV, despite the relative ratings falloff.
At the time of this piece’s publishing, the viewership totals associated with The Weeknd’s roughly 14-minute-long halftime performance hadn’t been released. The 30-year-old Toronto native stated after the fact that he was “still buzzing” from the much-watched set, which he paid $7 million to put together.
In terms of fan reactions, a number of supporters praised the “Blinding Lights” artist for appearing to perform his music live, as opposed to lip syncing. (The set wasn’t without critics, however.)
Last year, many viewers speculated as to whether Shakira and J. Lo had utilized pre-arranged vocals during their own halftime show. Beyoncé and Katy Perry have admitted to doing as much, for instance, while Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea acknowledged in a letter that his band had used pre-recorded instrumentals while playing the Super Bowl with Bruno Mars in 2014.
Finally, The Weeknd still won’t be playing the Grammys, which he called “corrupt” after receiving zero nominations – even though the 2021 ceremony has been rescheduled for March 14th.