The game drew a hair under 100 million viewers on Fox, up barely 2% on last year. For comparison, last year’s low-scoring matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams on CBS averaged approximately 98.2 million viewers on the network alone, the big game’s lowest viewership total since 2008, and 100.7 million across all platforms. The 2018 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles drew 103.4 million.
The Super Bowl’s performance caps off the NFL’s 100th anniversary year which was up 5% in the regular season on 2018. Following a bumpy few years, the league rebounded to draw an average of 16.7 million TV and digital viewers pre-playoffs.
Following the game, “The Masked Singer” premiered its third season to a whopping 23.7 million total viewers, which unsurprisingly more than doubled the series’ previous viewership high. To further put that number into context, the season 1 finale of the singing competition series drew 11.5 million viewers, and the most recent episode (the season 2 finale) was watched by 8.4 million pairs of eyeballs. That viewership figure is also up 7% on last year’s post-Super Bowl programming in “The World’s Best.”
Find out who was unmasked in the dramatic season 3 premiere here, and follow along as Variety recaps each episode week-to-week.
Switching back to the football, Sunday night’s game was also the first Super Bowl on the streamlined Fox following the sale of a large chunk of its assets to Disney. Before the game, Fox Sports executive producer Brad Zager said that every part of the company, from Fox Entertainment and Fox Sports, to Fox affiliates and Fox News, had come together in the planning process to make sure each segment of the company “felt just as much a part of this as anybody else.”
The game itself saw a thrilling comeback from the Chiefs to win the Vince Lombardi trophy by a 31-20 score which belied the closeness of the encounter. Patrick Mahomes and co. were down 10 points going into a fourth quarter which provided three touchdowns for the team from Missouri, and none for the 49ers.
Meanwhile the numbers were undoubtedly given a boost by an electric halftime show from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. The show was described by Variety music writer Chris Willman as “14 minutes of pure frenzy.”
Prior to kickoff, Fox News aired an interview with President Trump conducted by Sean Hannity, which garnered 10.3 million total viewers. That number included 4.2 million in the key 25-54 demographic. For comparison, last year’s CBS News interview between the President and anchor Margaret Brennan netted just over 8 million viewers.
Elsewhere on Sunday night, every other network aired solely reruns, with NBC, ABC and CBS all averaging a 0.2 rating among adults 18-49.
A “60 Minute” replay was the most watched non-Fox program of the night with 2.63 million total viewers for CBS, followed by “NCIS: New Orleans” with 2.58 million.