Super Bowl LIII Was a Disappointment for TV Ratings

February 5, 2019, 2:47 PM UTC

Super Bowl LIII was a disappointment on many levels—and television ratings was one of them.

CBS on Monday announced that the Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams attracted 98.2 million viewers. The game, which ended with a 13-3 victory for the Patriots, had the smallest viewership since the 2008 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the New York Giants.

It was the final disappointment in a night full of disappointments. The game itself was a defensive battle that left most bored by the lack of action. The commercials were roundly criticized for their lack of innovation and Maroon 5’s halftime performance has been nearly universally panned.

But there might be more to the drop than a boring game and halftime show. According to The New York Times, which earlier reported on the 53rd Super Bowl’s ratings, the big game’s viewership has been slipping in recent years. The game attracted 111.3 million viewers in 2017 and 103.4 million viewers last year. After losing another five million viewers in 2019, television viewership seems to have waned.

However, CBS (CBS) was quick to note that digital viewership, including those who streamed the game on a computer or set-top box, reached a new record of 2.6 million people. So, while television viewership has been off, digital streaming viewership has been growing and helping to offset traditional broadcast declines.