Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots' Downfall Couldn't Stop Super Bowl Ratings Slide

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots' Downfall Couldn't Stop Super Bowl Ratings Slide

Article excerpt

Super Bowl LII was a thriller, but its overall viewership? Less so.

For the third consecutive season, Nielsen overnight ratings dropped for the NFL's premier event, despite the excitement of the Philadelphia Eagles' 41-33 nail-biter over the defending champion New England Patriots.

Although its audience of 103.4 million puts Super Bowl LII at No. 10 on the all-time most-watched list of U.S. television, it was beaten out by the 1983 series finale of "M*A*S*H" (106.0 million). Adding in various streaming platforms such as NBCSports.com, NFL.com and the Yahoo Sports app, Sunday night's game was watched by about 106 million people.

Viewership peaked at 109.2 million from 10-10:25 p.m. as the lead changed hands and New England drove down the field one last time. At 2.02 million live streams (3.1 million concurrent streams at its peak), it delivered the biggest live-streamed Super Bowl ever.

Nonetheless, the broadcast fell short by traditional measurements.

"There is just so much fragmentation going on," said Paige Beal, chair of Point Park University's Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management Program in the Rowland School of Business. Second screens and viewing across devices not traditionally measured by Nielsen also help account for lower ratings, she added.

Watching the Super Bowl "is still a destination but nothing like if you want to roll it all the way back to when it was three networks," she said.

Numbers do not include out-of-home viewers - people who watch TV in environments such as offices, airports, hotels, bars and other people's homes - which might increase the overall totals by several million people. Nielsen will have those statistics available Thursday.

The game delivered a household rating of 43.1 with a 68 share.

Rating is the percentage of the potential audience - how many available TVs are available in a given market - and share estimates how many of those TVs are tuned to certain content during a time period.

Local markets also are measured, with Buffalo's NBC affiliate topping the list with a 56.4 rating and 78 share.

Nielsen measures social media engagement as well. Between Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, there were 170. …

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