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Super Bowl LIII gets decade-low rating


David Skarupski, Sports Editor

Super Bowl LIII drew the lowest ratings for a Super Bowl this decade, following an opposite trend of viewership for the NFL for the 2018-2019 season.


According to the Nielsen Company, this year’s Super Bowl drew an average of 98.2 million viewers who watched the broadcast on CBS.

The Super Bowl hasn’t seen ratings so low since the 2008 edition, when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 to stop them from achieving an undefeated record on the year. That Super Bowl drew an audience of about 97.4 million viewers. Additionally, Super Bowl LIII had a preliminary household rating of 41.1, a number that hasn’t been so low since Super Bowl XXXVII in 2004, when the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29. In comparison, viewership for the 2018 regular season saw an increase of television viewership by 5 percent and an increase of 86 percent in digital streaming viewership from 2017, according to the league office.

This year’s game proved that while defense may win championships, it does not win television ratings. The lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history was not a ratings-grabber. NFL viewers are accustomed to seeing more offensively-dominated games, as the 2018 regular season saw teams score an average of 23.3 points-per-game, which was the second-highest in the Super Bowl era, according to profootballreference.com.


The boycott of the Super Bowl by the city of New Orleans did not help ratings. After the infamous missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams, fans of the Saints vowed to boycott a Super Bowl they believed the Saints should have been in. The fans came through with their promise, as viewership in the city came in at an all-time low of 26.1 percent, while many establishments across New Orleans hosted anti-Super Bowl events.

The presence of the New England Patriots may have also hurt the ratings, as their presence has oversaturated the game with 9 appearances over the past 18 seasons. While it may only be coincidence that the three lowest-rated Super Bowls of the last 20 years all involved the Pats, as they have been in almost half of them, their presence brings the disdain of many opposing fans.