Sunday’s Super Bowl, the highest-scoring game in its 52-year history, hit nearly a 10-year ratings low updated viewership tallies.
The marquee event of the television calendar, which saw the Philadelphia Eagles nab their first Super Bowl victory, averaged 103.4 million viewers. With streaming, NBC cites a total audience of 106 million viewers. Either way, it’s a steep drop from last year’s linear haul.
Earlier, the game averaged a 47.4 overnight rating among metered market households on NBC. That’s down 3 percent from initial numbers for the 2017 game, a modest drop but one that marks the franchise’s lowest performance since 2010.
The past two Super Bowls, which averaged a respective 48.8 (2017) and 49 (2016) overnight ratings, were each steady with over 111 million viewers. (There was a massive spike in streaming in 2017, which technically put the game at 113.7 million viewers.)
It was certainly a competitive game. Though the Eagles maintained a lead for all but a few minutes in the fourth quarter, the New England Patriots had a very real chance of winning their sixth championship with quarterback Tom Brady until the final minute.
Still, the 2018 Super Bowl seemed predestined to see fatigue no matter the kind of game. Concerns about NFL interest were aplenty heading into Sunday. Overall league ratings were down for the second year in a row, falling just shy of 10 percent for the regular season.
There’s no singular reason for the drops — but poor primetime match-ups early in the season, ongoing controversy about players choosing to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against black Americans and the natural ebb and flow of interest all clearly played some part. The league was gifted two seemingly ideal markets for the 2018 pairing in Philadelphia and New England, though another real concern over the Super Bowl’s TV appeal, frankly, has been the frequency with which the Patriots have appeared in recent years.
The Super Bowl’s highest rating was the last time NBC aired the game. The 2015 NFL Championship, a narrow Patriots win over the Seattle Seahawks, averaged a stunning 114.4 million viewers. (Overnights for that game were also at a high, with 49.7 rating and a 72 share.)
Later in the evening, NBC scored some particularly good returns with This Is Us. it ranked as the top-rated post-game series since The Voice six years ago. It netted a 16.2 overnight rating among households in early numbers, an improvement of nearly 60 percent from Fox’s broadcast of 24 in 2017.
Jimmy Fallon also was at a high, besting his previous post-game returns with a 5.7 rating among metered market households. It currently ranks as The Tonight Show‘s No. 3 telecast of the Fallon era.
Updates and additional ratings to come throughout Monday, including viewership for the game and information on who watched NBC’s special airing of This Is Us.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.