The sport doesn’t entice greater than 100 million viewers

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Tom Brady # 12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

The numbers are there and the National Football League’s biggest game of the year – during this season by Covid – didn’t hit 100 million viewers this year.

Super Bowl LV drew 96.4 million viewers for ViacomCBS on Sunday, the company said Tuesday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. It’s the lowest-watched Super Bowl since 2007, when the Indianapolis Colts played the Chicago Bears, another CBS show. This game drew 93.1 million viewers, according to Octagon media division data provided to CNBC.

Research firm Nielsen, which processes television viewers’ data, responded Monday afternoon to inquiries about the delay in publishing the information. In a statement on Deadline, a spokesperson said the metrics would include out-of-home (OOH) numbers. These numbers represent televisions in places like bars and restaurants and add viewership to the NFL.

Although the total viewership was a disappointment, CBS has touted the growth of Internet streaming for the Super Bowl. The company said the stream averaged 5.7 million viewers per minute. The game was streamed through CBS’s All Access service. Later this year, All Access will migrate to Paramount +, ViacomCBS’s new streaming service to take over leading companies like Netflix and Disney +.

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady climbed further into the NFL record books with his seventh championship and crowned the Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time. Brady finished the game 201 yards on a 21v29 pass and three touchdowns, including joining Rob Gronkowski on the close end on two of the results.

Despite two dynamic quarterbacks in 43-year-old Brady and 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes the Chiefs, the game wasn’t as close as originally planned. The Chiefs failed to score a touchdown and scored 31-6 after scooping the game’s first points via a field goal.

The CBS app experienced issues during the game that could negatively affect ratings.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs in action, Super Bowl, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, February 7, 2021.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Dan Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s global media legal advisory division, said the company monitored its own audience metrics during Super Bowl LV. Octagon’s data showed that the game had a significant impact on viewership. With tight games holding the crowd, the crowd likely peaked when the Bucs were 7-3 ahead.

Viewership fell as the one-sided score increased and for the most part continued to decline as the game progressed.

This is the second time in three years that the game hasn’t dwarfed 100 million TV viewers. The 2015 game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks is still the most watched game with around 114 million viewers.

Brady’s last Super Bowl win in 2019 while drawing around 98.2 million viewers with the Patriots; The lowest value since 97.5 million is set for the 2008 Super Bowl.

Cohen credited the overall production and presentation of the game, which included a message from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, a poem by Amanda Gorman, and a performance by musical pop star The Weeknd.

“All in all, the fact that this game was played is a miracle,” added Cohen. “And having Brady and Mahomes on the storylines was the NFL’s biggest dream.”

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