Super Bowl LII Will Test the NFL After a Difficult Season

Changing viewer habits and a season of turmoil means the game is more than just a trophy.

super bowl
Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with Chris Hogan #15 in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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There is more on the line than just a trophy during Super Bowl LII. A season of turmoil and changing view habits have injured the most durable TV franchise. The Super Bowl has always been an event bigger than just football — people who have no favorite team, or their team isn’t playing in the game, would gather with friends and watch the big-budget, celebrity-studded commercials priced at $5 million per 30 seconds. Over the last 10 years, spending on Super Bowl ads has surged 35 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times. But this year, there was a nearly 10 percent decline in viewership during the regular season. The Super Bowl will confirm whether that drop is a blip or marks a true turning point in the public attitudes toward pro football. This year, there has been anger over protests during the national anthem, and growing concern over injuries. Spending on the NFL was down 1.2 percent to $2.42 billion during the regular season. The Super Bowl audience has dwindled in recent years, but hasn’t been that meaningful since there were still more than 111 million viewers. But will it be greater this year?

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