Each year, millions of people watch the Super Bowl. But as of recently, viewership has fluctuated dramatically. For the last three years, the average number of viewers has decreased, and there are many factors that contribute to this.
Viewership for the Last Few Years
For many Americans watching the Super Bowl, each year has been a steady tradition. Though over the past few years, those traditional fans have been drifting off. According to CNBC, the Super Bowl had only 98.5 million viewers in 2019. Geoff Herbert from Syracuse states, “Variety reports 102 million total viewers tuned in for Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers on Fox and all its platforms.” Compared to the 2015 Super Bowl, which had 114 million viewers, audience size has been relatively low.
It is a known fact that older generations watch the NFL, but as the new wave of teens come along Super Bowl viewership will start to decrease. Out of 32 people, 23 EH community members attended parties containing more people over the age of 20. This poll shows that teens are less interested in this huge sporting event than adults. EHHS history teacher, Mr. Peter Hearty, said that he went to a Super Bowl party of 100 people, and the average age was 40. However, Ohm Patel, a junior at EHHS, said that he didn’t even bother to watch the Super Bowl. Brittany Dervan from Skyhook states, “Roughly 30% of Super Bowl attendees are ages 45-65 which is on par with the national average age of viewers who watch NFL. Only 13% were over 65 or between 20 and 30.” There is no clear reason as to why the older age group watches it. Teens might be becoming less interested in football because of the various political issues surrounding the sport.
Political Issues and Ethical Problems
As a new era of activism sweeps over the country, the NFL has adapted its ways of how the game is played. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem, which caused many fans to be outraged. Jason Clinkscales of YB Media writes, “To put this all in greater perspective, 85% of the lost total viewership (1.5 million fans, including kids and teenagers) for 2017 comes from white NFL fans.” Mr. Hearty explains the effect of Colin Kaepernick: “A few years ago it did, but not so much today.” The NFL knew they were losing viewers because of the player’s protest, so they had to change their ways. To counteract the protests, chairman of the NFL Roger Goddell, released a statement in 2018 stating, “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.” With this, they were able to give the players the freedom to do what they feel but off the field and away from the fans regarding the anthem.
Is Viewership Truly Down?
Numbers are down, but it could be a simple fact that people are having bigger Super Bowl parties. Out of 34 EH community members, 19 people had parties over 5. If only one TV is being used and the Super Bowl only gets the statistics of how many TVs were functioning, then the numbers could be off by millions.
There are many speculations and theories as to why Super Bowl numbers have been down and there is no clear explanation, but the biggest US sporting event isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Football and the tradition of watching the Super Bowl will stay with people for a very long time and remain an integral part of their lives.