The Super Bowl is the number one viewed live event of the year, year-in-year-out.
This year’s game got 96.4 million viewers, the lowest rating since 2007. There are all sorts of theories about why the number was so low. The game wasn’t close. This season was weird because of the pandemic. Musical guest The Weeknd wasn’t much of a halftime draw.
But none of that gets to the meat of the issue. Here are Super Bowl ratings for18-to-49-year-olds — the prime demographic for advertisers — over the past ten years.
Some of the decline is related to the rise of streaming, which isn’t captured in Nielsen data (but will be in 2024). But not that much. About 5.7 million people streamed the Super Bowl this year, up from 3.4 million last year, according to The Streamable.
Forget the blowout game and weird halftime show. Whether it’s a thrilling Tom Brady comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, a magnificent Patrick Mahomes fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, or Brady against Mahomes this year, it doesn’t matter. Fewer people under 50 are watching every year.
What is causing those under 50 to shy away from watching the big game? What could the NFL do to attract new viewers?
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