Viewership in the Super Bowl slipped 7% to a Nielsen preliminary 103.4 million U.S. viewers versus 111.3 million last year. It was the lowest level in nine years for a close, entertaining contest only decided in the last play of the game.
Which is why I call on research executives to thoroughly examine all secular and other holidays -- from all angles -- TV and otherwise. The public needs answers.
Until then, let’s look at what we do know. First, some say the TV commercials were OK -- but not great. “Many of the spots felt handcuffed or held back,” says Eric Deggans, NPR's TV critic.
And there was controversy -- with Dodge lifting Martin Luther King's words in a spot. Deggans: “It's never a good move to make a civil rights leader look like he's shilling for trucks from beyond the grave.”
The regular NFL season revealed controversial concerns over players’ pregame protests. But they didn’t seem to make a dent here. NFL player medical issues? Early in the game, New England Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks departed the contest, due to a helmet-to-helmet crash.
Perhaps the low numbers were because President Trump decided not to make an appearance. He always brings a crowd. Maybe he didn’t want to show any bias for his good friends, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and team quarterback Tom Brady.
As for TV engagement: In the 2009-2010 TV season, Nielsen said there were 114.9 million homes. Currently, for the 2017-2018 season, there are 119.6 million. That’s a 4% rise. So why the lower numbers?
Maybe the quality of the chicken wings for those watching at home wasn't satisfying. Personally, I rushed out to the grocery store for some last-minute Super Bowl food shopping, expecting to be crushed by other shoppers. Nope. Just a typically busy Sunday afternoon.
We all know the Super Bowl is less of a TV show than an actual holiday of sorts -- like other days when people traditionally get together for a meal/food celebration, coupled with a bit of entertainment.
Are fewer people attending Super Bowl parties -- or other food and entertainment gatherings? Is Thanksgiving also less popular than it used to be?