Super Bowl ratings dip for the week of Feb. 1-7

Rob Gronkowski, left, and Tom Brady celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl LV.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, left, and quarterback Tom Brady celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl LV.

Super Bowl viewership dropped to its lowest level since 2006, resuming its annual decline after last year’s jump.

CBS’ coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV Sunday averaged 91.629 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

Super Bowl viewership began declining after Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 on NBC averaged a record 114.442 million viewers for the New England Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. It dropped for four consecutive years, then rose 1.5% last year to 99.905 million viewers for Fox’s telecast of Kansas City’s 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.


Viewership for most forms of programming has decreased in recent years, in part because of competition from streaming programs, including streams of the same programs shown on traditional television.

The viewership figure could increase when additional digital numbers become available, according to Nielsen. The official viewership was the 14th largest for a Super Bowl or any U.S. television program.

The total viewership across all platforms for Sunday’s game was 96.4 million viewers, according to CBS, making the game the least-watched since 2007. Total viewership last year was 102.1 million.

Super Bowl LV was the most streamed NFL game, with an average minute audience of 5.7 million viewers, a 65% increase over Super Bowl LIV. Super Bowl LV was the first NFL game to have more than one billion streaming minutes.

The 22-minute Super Bowl LV postgame show averaged 51.54 million viewers. The 29 minutes of postgame coverage last year averaged 67.081 million viewers.

The premiere of CBS’ remained version of “The Equalizer,” which followed the postgame show averaged 20.404 million viewers, the least for a program following a Super Bowl since 2017, when the premiere of Fox’s short-lived counterterrorism drama “24: Legacy” averaged 17.6 million viewers.

“24: Legacy” was canceled after one season. Viewership for its premiere was depressed because it followed the longest Super Bowl telecast, the Patriots’ 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

As is customary, the post-Super Bowl program drew the largest audience since the previous year’s Oscars.

Thanks to Super Bowl LV, CBS averaged 18.09 million viewers for its 22 hours of prime-time programming between Feb. 1 and Sunday, the most for any network since Fox averaged 25.09 million viewers for its 16 hours of programming the week it aired Super Bowl LIV.

Super Bowl LV enabled CBS to pass NBC and move into first for the 2020-21 prime-time television season. CBS has finished first five times during the 20-week-old season, three less than NBC.

With CBS airing reruns of its popular series “NCIS” and “FBI,” its highest rating during the first six days of the week was the police drama “Blue Bloods,” which averaged 6.513 million viewers, seventh for the week.

The order of finish behind CBS was the same as the previous week. ABC was second, averaging 2.96 million viewers, and NBC third, averaging 2.88 million. Fox was fourth, averaging 2.54 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming.

CBS, ABC and NBC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming for the week.

NBC had the two top rated non-CBS programs. “Chicago Med” was fourth for the week, averaging 7.472 million viewers. “Chicago Fire,” which followed, averaged 7.315 million, fifth for the week. They were the only prime-time programs to average more than 7 million viewers the first six days of the week.

The procedural drama “9-1-1” had Fox’s biggest audience for the third consecutive week, averaging 6.781 million viewers, sixth for the week.

“The Bachelor” was ABC’s rating winner, averaging 5.542 million viewers, 11th for the week.

The MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show” accounted for the week’s three highest ranked cable programs, topped by the Thursday edition which averaged 4.036 million viewers, 21st overall.

The order of finish among the top three cable networks was unchanged from the previous week. Fox News Channel was first, averaging 2.267 million, MSNBC second, averaging 2.178 million and CNN third, averaging 1.738 million.

In the first full week that its 10-episode third season was available “Cobra Kai” was the most-watched program on the four streaming services whose figures are publicly released by Nielsen.