Feb 15, 2022 - Economy

Super Bowl ratings rebound from 2021

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

More than 101 million Americans watched Super LVI on live TV Sunday across NBC and Telemundo, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen. Across all of NBC's platforms, including its streaming platform Peacock, the game was watched by 112.3 million viewers, per NBC.

Why it matters: It's an improvement from last year's game, which saw ratings drop to a 10-year low.

Super Bowl viewership, by year
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Details: The game drew roughly 99.2 million viewers on NBC live and about 1.9 million viewers on Telemundo live, per Nielsen. That's up about 10% from the number of people who watched the game live last year on CBS.

  • In total, about 112.3 million people watched the game across NBC's streaming and digital channels, up about 14% from last year's live TV + streaming total.
  • This year was the first time Telemundo was able to broadcast the game, making it the first-ever Spanish-language broadcast network to air the Super Bowl. 

Be smart: A nail-biter game and well-received halftime performance likely added to the excitement and viewership gains.

  • Heading into the event, sports executives were confident that the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals would yield stronger viewership numbers than last year's event, thanks to the return of fans to stadiums and a slew of suspenseful games.
  • Viewership for the NFL's 2021 regular season was up 10% from 2020, its highest-rated season average since 2015, per Nielsen.

What to watch: In addition to the Super Bowl, NBC also has broadcast rights for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

  • Unlike the Super Bowl, Olympic viewership isn't expected to recover from pandemic-driven headwinds and the migration to streaming.
  • The Winter Olympics opening ceremony this year drew just 14 million viewers on television, making it one of the least-viewed opening ceremonies on TV in Olympic history, according to numbers provided by NBC Sports.
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