Super Bowl LIII was a win for the Patriots, but not necessarily in ratings as the game dipped to a 10-year-low.
The Super Bowl is generally considered the highest-rated TV event of the year. Advertisers fight for the coveted ad placement during the game, and performers aspire to appear on the massive half time show. This year, all of that amounted to some pretty luke-warm Nielsen ratings, according to a report by Deadline, at least by Super Bowl standards.
As of Monday morning, the Super Bowl has an average rating of 44.9/68 in metered market results. That is a 5.2 percent drop from last year's game, which was already pretty low to begin with. It is reportedly the lowest turnout for the game since Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the Arizona Cardinals.
This year's game did have its ups and down, clawing its way up to a 47.3 rating near the end as fans tuned back in to see how it would shake out. Most are attributing the lackluster broadcast numbers to a low-scoring game, a half time performance that generated little excitement.
With a final score of 13-3, this was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in NFL history. While it may have meant that the teams were appropriately matched, in practice, most fans agreed it made for boring TV. Social media filled with jokes, including Dan Rather's line: "Nothing super about this bowl so far."
Nothing super about this bowl so far.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 4, 2019
Meanwhile, fans also dragged half time performers Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi for a show that they felt did not live up to years past. All three performers were pressured to turn down the gig in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other NFL protesters, as other big name musicians did. Cardi B, Rihanna, Pink and Jay-Z all reportedly abstained from the half time show, leaving fans feeling like they got the runners up.
In addition, some hopeful rumors about the half time show did not come to pass. Many fans expected the NFL to play the "Sweet, Sweet Victory" clip from SpongeBob SquarePants in honor of the death of Stephen Hillenburg. Only a short clip was played, although the Mercedes-Benz stadium Twitter account later posted a video of the full song blairing throughout an empty stadium.
Okay, everybody… Let’s get this over with.
1, 2, 3… 4...February 4, 2019
Fans also hoped that Scott would use his time on the world stage to propose to girlfriend Kylie Jenner, particularly because they had revealed the birth of their daughter, Stormi Webster on Super Bowl Sunday last year. This, too, was just wishful thinking.
All in all, it was a disappointing night for advertisers who paid about $5 million each to run Super Bowl commercials, and broadcasters who were hoping for a pay day. This year's game goes to show the drastically shifting landscape of network TV. CBS will get another chance, however, as the network has agreed to host the Super Bowl again in 2022.