Super Bowl draws 103 million viewers, down 7 percent from 2017

(Reuters) - Sunday’s historic Super Bowl victory by the Philadelphia Eagles averaged 103.4 million viewers on U.S. television network NBC, a 7 percent drop from last year’s football championship game, according to Nielsen ratings data released on Monday.

The viewership on NBC, which is owned by Comcast Corp, ranked as the lowest for U.S. television’s premiere event since 2009. Still, the decline was smaller than the 10 percent falloff for National Football League games during the regular season.

The underdog Eagles upset the New England Patriots 41-33 to win their first Super Bowl title in franchise history. NBC said the contest was the 10th-biggest television broadcast in history.

New England won last year’s Super Bowl in a thrilling overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons, drawing 111.3 million viewers on Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s Fox broadcast network.

About 3 million more people watched this year’s Super Bowl live on digital platforms such as or apps from NBC Sports, Verizon Communications Inc and Yahoo Sports, NBC said. That made the game the most live-streamed Super Bowl ever.

Ratings for NFL games have been closely watched after two straight years of declines during the regular season. Among factors cited by analysts are an overall drop in television viewing and divisive player protests over racial inequality.

Advertisers including Anheuser Busch InBev, Inc and Toyota Motor Corp spent more than $5 million on average for each 30-second commercial spot during Sunday’s game.

Total spending by brands during the broadcast hit $414 million, the second-highest amount in history, according to a preliminary estimate from research firm Kantar Media. Commercials took up more than 49 minutes, or 22 percent, of the game, Kantar said.

NBC said 106.6 million people on average watched Sunday’s halftime show featuring singer Justin Timberlake. A new episode of family drama “This is Us,” which followed the Super Bowl, brought in 27 million viewers, the most-watched scripted show on NBC in more than 13 years.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler