A high-scoring Super Bowl that came down to a last-second Hail Mary pass failed to reverse the National Football League’s slumping TV audience, with an early tally showing the lowest viewership in eight years.
The Sunday night championship, in which the Philadelphia Eagles toppled the New England Patriots 41-33, attracted an overnight rating of 47.4 on NBC, according to preliminary data from the network, down about 3 percent from last year. More complete viewer totals will be released later Monday.
The initial tally marked the lowest overnight rating since 2010, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Last year’s game, in which the Patriots stormed from behind to topple the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, attracted an audience of 111.3 million, also down from the year before. The record for the most-watched Super Bowl was in 2015, when 114.4 million tuned in.
This year’s game was close throughout, with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles leading his team to its first Super Bowl victory and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady heaving a last-second pass that fell incomplete. A ratings point equals 1 percent of U.S. TV households, which total more than 116 million.
The Super Bowl draws TV’s biggest live audience of the year, and advertisers paid more than $5 million for 30 second commercials.