Eagles vs Patriots Super Bowl 52 Averaged 103.4M Viewers; Lowest Rated Since '09

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Zach Ertz #86 and Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Philadelphia Eagles  celebrate defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Viewership in the United States for Super Bowl LII was the lowest for the event since 2009, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported Monday. 

According to Rovell, the Philadelphia Eagles' 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots drew an average of 103.4 million U.S. viewers, a noticeable drop from Super Bowl LI, when an average of 111.3 Americans watched the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons.

The drop in Super Bowl viewership fits with the general trend regarding the NFL's television ratings. SportsBusiness Daily's Austin Karp reported three of the league's television partners experienced a decline in their average viewership:

A number of factors likely played into the ratings dip, be it the protests during the national anthem, significant injuries to stars such as Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt and the overall awareness regarding the long-term effects of playing football.

NBC News' Dante Chinni and Sally Bronston reported on an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing fewer people say they follow the NFL closely. Forty-nine percent of the respondents said they followed the league closely, down from 58 percent in 2014. In the same poll, 49 percent of those polled said they would encourage their child not to play football because of the potential for concussions and other serious injuries.

Generally speaking, viewing habits are changing as well.

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson wrote last September and CNNMoney's Frank Pallotta explained a month later how television ratings were declining across multiple networks and television programs. Especially with the growth of cord-cutting, fewer people are watching television.

The NFL remains in a strong position, though. According to Ad Age's Anthony Crupi, 37 of the 50 highest-rated programs from 2017 were NFL games, so the league's viewership remains robust relative to the overall television landscape. 

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