February 8, 2021
While Tom Brady receives much of the attention for winning his seventh Super Bowl, and becoming only the second QB to win it for two different franchises, viewership for the Feb. 7 NFL title game won by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 over the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Fla., and all of its associated programming, was down 15% year-over-year, according to new data from Samba TV.
Samba TV tracks viewer recommend program data — called Automatic Content Recognition — from more than 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States.
The company said 32 million households tuned in on Sunday night, down from 37.6 in 2020. Pre-game show viewership was down 13%; the halftime show featuring musical act The Weeknd was down 14%; and the interview with President Joe Biden was down 13%.
Separately, Comscore said initial Super Bowl TV ratings were flat, while NFL Conference Championship games were up 10%.
The lower ratings would be the latest challenge for the NFL after its pandemic-addled season, as teams throughout the league dealt with COVID-19 infections, quarantines and empty stadiums.
Household tune-ins were down throughout the playoffs and the marquee Sunday and Monday night games, according to Samba TV. Two weeks ago, households viewing the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games were down 15% and 17%, respectively, while each game in the divisional round was down 20% to 23%, and the Wild Card weekend games were down 21% to 30%.
Boston, home of plenty of Tom Brady fans, was the market that over-indexed the most, followed by Kansas City and then Tampa.
Samba said viewership of the game increased a bit during the first 30 mins of the game (when the score was still close), and held pretty steady until around halftime, when viewership dropped a bit.
Household tune-in mostly recovered after halftime, but then there was a steady decrease afterward nationwide and in Kansas City. Not surprisingly, Tampa’s viewership held pretty steadily at the end of halftime through the end of the game as the team’s double-digit lead became insurmountable.