Super Bowl LIII averaged 98.2 million viewers on CBS on Sunday, according to Nielsen data reported by Sports Business Journal, the lowest viewership average for a Super Bowl since the Giants’ victory over the Patriots in 2008 averaged 97.5 million.
SBJ also reported the game averaged 41.1 percent of homes nationally, the lowest such figure since 2005.
CBS did not initially release the broadcast TV-only data, instead reporting that 100.7 million watched when including not only television viewers on CBS itself but also on digital outlets and ESPN Deportes.
Apples-to-apples viewership comparisons have become increasingly difficult to assess - and increasingly subject to interpretation and spin - in the modern media era, with networks moving toward using “Total Audience Delivery” to include all forms of content consumption.
In the Boston area, an average of 57.4 percent of homes tuned in on Sunday, while in Los Angeles that figure was 44.6. New Orleans ranked last among the 56 major markets at 26.1, the Times-Picayune reported, a shockingly low number for one of the NFL’s strongest TV markets. Many Saints fans boycotted the game because of the missed call in the NFC Championship Game that likely cost their team a spot in the Super Bowl.
The numbers were not helped by the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history, which the Patriots won, 13-3, over the Rams.