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Super Bowl LV viewership drops to lowest levels since 2007

At 96.4 million, viewership on Sunday was down considerably from last year’s game, which was watched by about 101 million people.
Image: Football Fans Gather In Kansas City To Watch To Super Bowl LV Between The Kansas City Chiefs And The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fans watch the broadcast of Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 7, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo.Kyle Rivas / Getty Images

Super Bowl LV on Sunday drew an average of 96.4 million viewers across TV and streaming platforms, according to data from CBS, which aired the game. That's the lowest viewership since Super Bowl XLI in 2007, which was also on CBS.

The Super Bowl is traditionally the most watched event on TV. But this year’s viewership was down considerably from last year’s game, which had an average of 101 million viewers across multiple channels and streaming outlets. In contrast, both the AFC and NFC Championship Games last month had increased viewership from last season.

Nielsen, which reports ratings, said the telecast of this year's Super Bowl averaged nearly 92 million viewers on CBS alone. The higher number reported by CBS accounts for viewers across all platforms, which includes the CBS Television Network, Verizon Media mobile properties and ESPN Deportes.

According to CBS, the game was the most live-streamed NFL event ever, with an average per-minute audience of 5.7 million viewers.

Typically these numbers are released on Monday, the day after the game. However, this year's numbers were delayed while the count was being processed and verified, a Nielsen spokesperson said.

The game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL's team in Kansas City pitted veteran quarterback Tom Brady against young star Patrick Mahomes. The name of the NFL's team in Kansas City is considered offensive to many in the Indigenous community.

Kansas City and Mahomes were the reigning champs but lost to the Buccaneers, 31-9, in Tampa Bay's home stadium, which featured 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans and only 25,000 fans in attendance because of the pandemic.

Even this year's advertising looked different. Several long-time sponsors, including Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, decided not to run ads during the broadcast.