Despite overtime finish, NFL Super Bowl draws lower TV ratings
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[February 07, 2017]
By Tim Baysinger
(Reuters) - Fox Television's broadcast
of Super Bowl LI on Sunday night drew 111.3 million viewers,
according to Nielsen data released by the network on Monday, the
smallest audience for the National Football League's title game in
The contest included a thrilling finish, with the New England
Patriots staging a comeback to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in the
National Football league's first-ever Super Bowl overtime. The
Patriots returned from a 25-point deficit and quarterback Tom Brady,
39, won his record fifth championship.
The Falcons were in control for much of the game, with a 28-3 lead
midway through the third quarter. Viewership surged as the Patriots'
pushed the game into overtime, peaking at 117.7 million from 10 p.m.
to 10:15 p.m ET.
Without the Patriots' rally, ratings would've been even worse for
Fox, which still posted the least-viewed Super Bowl since 2013, when
108.7 million watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco
Lady Gaga's halftime show drew 117.5 million viewers.
Last year's Super Bowl drew a 111.9 million viewers to CBS Corp's
<CBS.N> CBS, while the Patriots' previous title game appearance in
2015 helped Comcast Corp's <CMCSA.O> NBC television draw 114.4
million viewers, the most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history.
Despite the lower viewership, the brief overtime, in which the
Patriots scored a touchdown in their first possession, allowed Fox
to add four more commercials. It is not clear how many more ad
dollars Fox was able to get; the network was charging $5 million for
30-seconds of airtime during the game. Fox brought in an estimated
$509.6 million in ad revenue for the broadcast, according to
research firm iSpot.TV.
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New England Patriots' James White scores a touchdown during overtime
to win Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons. REUTERS/Adrees
Advertising took up 23 percent of the broadcast, with 51 minutes and
30 seconds of commercials. That made it the second-most ad-cluttered
Super Bowl game, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.
The four-year viewership low comes on the heels of a disappointing
NFL season that saw ratings decline 9 percent and another 6 percent
through the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl. The NFL's four
U.S. TV partners, Fox, NBC, CBS and Walt Disney Co's ESPN, are
collectively paying $5.4 billion per year under their current media
Much of the ratings decline during the season was blamed on the
contentious U.S. presidential election drawing interest away, as
well as the lackluster quality of play early in the season. Prior to
the Nov. 8 election, ratings were down 12 percent, but were only off
by 5 percent after, according to analysis by MoffettNathanson.
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Alan
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