How many people watched Super Bowl 55? Ratings, viewership numbers take big hit in 2021

The Super Bowl 55 ratings are in, and they’re not so super.

After a fairly lengthy delay in the ratings reveal (by usual standards), CBS on Tuesday announced a dip in ratings from over 100 million TV viewers last year to just over 91 million TV viewers this year — a fairly significant drop and the worst TV viewership number in over a decade.

The lengthy delay in getting the numbers out led to some speculation that the viewership numbers and ratings were in for a big decline from last year’s San Francisco vs. Kansas City matchup in Super Bowl 54, which turned out to be fact.

Combining all methods of viewing — TV, stream and so forth — the number climbs a bit to 96.4 million, but still doesn’t reach the heights of Super Bowls past.

Here’s what we know about the Super Bowl ratings, viewership and more:

MORE: The best, worst commercials from Super Bowl 55

How many people watched Super Bowl 55?

At a reported average of 91.6 million viewers strictly on TV (per SBJ’s John Ourand), this marks the lowest number of TV viewers for a Super Bowl since 2006, when the Steelers and Seahawks drew a 90.75 million viewership number, solely on television. 

When adding TV viewers from various other platforms, that number grows to 96.4 million viewers, still a pretty big hit to average viewership altogether. Last year’s average TV viewership sat at 100.45 million viewers for Super Bowl 54, with another 3.4 million tied into streaming.

While the TV numbers dipped roughly 9 percent, the NFL’s regular season lost about a 7 percent viewership, meaning the loss in viewers is just about on par with the losses during the regular season, per SBJ’s John Ourand:

There could be any number of reasons for the loss in viewers, but most predominantly, the fact that the game was relatively non-competitive by halftime. Competitive games typically lend themselves to better viewership and ratings overall, and Super Bowl 55 was one of the most lopsided victories in the big game in the last 20 years.

Super Bowl ratings 2021

In local markets, the numbers that tie into viewership are just as telling. For example, the ratings in Boston were higher than those in Tampa, Fla.: With a 57.6 local rating, that number outpaced viewers in Tampa, which posted a 52.3 number, locally.

In Kansas City, the local rating came in at over 59.9, good for an 8-percent increase, per SBJ. The Boston market grew in viewership for a 13-percent rise, a year after the Patriots weren’t in the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati ratings also took a hit, each losing a bit of ratings percentage off the top in local TV markets.

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