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Super Bowl 55 ratings show NFL has peaked

It was not a good sign when the ratings for the NFL were delayed until February 9th, and the ominous delay turned out to show a steep drop in viewers for America’s most watched event of the year. For the first time since 2007, the Super Bowl failed to surpass 100 million viewers. This accounts for both television and streaming alternatives. According to Sports Media Watch:

Sunday’s Buccaneers-Chiefs Super Bowl 55 averaged a Nielsen-estimated 38.2 rating and 91.63 million viewers on CBS, marking the lowest rated edition of the game since Super Bowl 3 on NBC in 1969 (Jets-Colts: 36.0) and the least-watched since Super Bowl 40 on ABC in 2006 (Steelers-Seahawks: 90.75M). It was just the seventh Super Bowl with less than a 40 rating, and the first since 1990 (49ers-Broncos: 39.0) — snapping a 30-year streak.

Americans proportionately watched Super Bowl 55 at Super Bowl 3 levels, which is a major setback. But, comparatively the single digit drop in percentage points is made the NFL’s viewership losses proportionately moderate.

The difference between the Super Bowl and those other events is that Sunday’s declines were still relatively modest. The single-digit drop in ratings and viewership compares to much sharper declines for the college football championship (-27%), World Series (-30%), NBA Finals (-49%), final round of the Masters (-58%) and Stanley Cup Final (-61%).

This news is not surprising. Despite limited entertainment options, professional sports have not capitalized off of lockdowns. Perhaps, Americans are not interested in watching pro-athletes promote panic porn. Or perhaps their embrace of Cultural Marxism was a bigger deterrent, as it has been in the past. Either way, it can be concluded that professional sports have squandered this opportunity. By all accounts the game itself wasn’t good. The commercials have not been good in years, and neither has the halftime show. Even the logo has hardly changed in the last several years. The pageantry was lackluster this year, while the politics took center stage.

One has to wonder what is filling the void in American’s thirst for entertainment, because it isn’t the closed churches, closed movie theaters, virtual concerts, or city nightlife. After all, in pop culture, how many Americans raved about Mandalorian season 2 despite the fact that it was mediocre at best? Americans are actually quite starved for entertainment. And yet, the legacy entertainment mediums all seem to be losing their luster.

As we navigate and understand the culture we are living in, it’s important to keep these patterns in mind. Legacy entertainment is dying and may never rebound. But something else will fill the void.

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