The significant events of 2020 had a negative impact on TV viewership numbers in the US for sports telecasts. According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, Super Bowl LIV was the highest primetime sports telecast in the US for 2020 with 100.45M viewers, but Super Bowl LV had the lowest ratings of any Super Bowl since 1969.
Sports in the US Disrupted in 2020
2020 was a difficult year for a lot of industries and the sports world was one of those that were hit hard by the pandemic. In the US, live spectator sports were suspended for a full two-months and for a time its return was even uncertain. Eventually, sports leagues around the world found ways to improvise on their traditional schedules and restarted sporting events in “new normal” conditions, most significantly with limited or even 0 live spectators.
This created a much-altered atmosphere around sporting events that definitely affected viewership numbers. The US was also going through a tumultuous time with the killing of George Floyd sparking protests across cities in America and the US elections in November polarising much of the nation, adding to the already devastating effects of the pandemic.These factors shifted the viewer’s attention as households tended to tune in less to sporting events.
Super Bowl LIV Highest Sports Telecast of 2020 – Over 100M Viewers
Super Bowl LIV between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs was the highest primetime sports telecast in the US for 2020 attracting over 100M viewers. Super Bowl LIV took place on February 3, 2020, before the pandemic’s effects began to be felt in the US, thus sparing them from the low viewership numbers that the rest of the sporting calendar experienced.
The National Football League also took 82 out of 85 of the largest sporting events of the year in terms of viewership in the US. The three exceptions were College Football games that were played in January 2020, before the pandemic shifted the global landscape. Another clear evidence of the pandemic affecting viewership is the fact that both the World Series of Major League Baseball and the Finals of the National Basketball Association experienced their lowest viewership numbers in recent times.
Super Bowl LV Lowest TV Rating Since 1969
Unfortunately for the US, the decline in viewership numbers for sporting events continued on into 2021, as the effects of the pandemic could still be felt in many parts of the nation. Super Bowl LV was held on February 7, 2021, in Tampa, Florida and was contested between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
91 million people tuned in to watch the game on TV which is almost 10 million less than 2020’s numbers. Adding to the lower viewership numbers, Super Bowl LV’s TV ratings was the lowest achieved by any version of the Super Bowl since 1969.