The Super Bowl is more than just a game; it’s a TV spectacle. To maximize ratings, Super Bowl LV starts a bit earlier than most primetime events.
Super Bowl LV will be played Sunday, February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game will be televised on CBS and available to stream on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App, or with a subscription to CBS All Access. The Super Bowl starts earlier than most primetime events to maximize its audience across time zones and ensure it ends during East Coast primetime hours, so here’s what to know.
The NFL’s annual championship game routinely delivers some of the most thrilling moments in sports from David vs. Goliath upsets to perfect season-capping victories, and with storylines straight out of a Hollywood script, Super Bowl LV is poised to deliver much of the same. On February 7, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady will become the oldest quarterback to ever appear in a Super Bowl at age 43, breaking his previous records of 40 and 41 set with the New England Patriots. He’ll face off against the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-year-old phenom Patrick Mahomes, who will become the youngest quarterback to appear in consecutive Super Bowls. While Mahomes looks to claim back-to-back titles, Brady will be seeking his record seventh Super Bowl ring in his staggering tenth appearance, also an NFL record. The game will be played at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium, marking the first time in NFL history a team has played the Super Bowl on its home field.
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Super Bowl LV will start at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST); however, kickoff could be delayed a few minutes due to pre-game festivities. Audiences on Central Standard Time will see kickoff at 5:30 p.m. while Mountain Standard Time viewers will see a 4:30 p.m. kickoff. As always, West Coast viewers will see the earliest kickoff in the contiguous United States, starting at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. CBS has a full slate of media coverage on Super Sunday starting at 11:30 a.m. EST and culminating with the Super Bowl on CBS’ Kick-Off Show at 6:00 p.m EST. Included in the kickoff show is the singing of the national anthem by Grammy Award-nominated artists Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan, the singing of “America the Beautiful” by Grammy Award-winning artist H.E.R., the coin toss, and team introductions. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will call the game for CBS along with on-field coverage from reporters Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn, and Jay Feely, with rules analyst Gene Steratore standing by for further analysis.
Over its 55-year history, the Super Bowl has transformed from game to spectacle and is now the most-watched television event in the United States, recording more than 100 million viewers annually. As the ratings increase, so do the advertising dollars. CBS received $336 million in ad volume for their last Super Bowl broadcast in 2019, though that may change for Super Bowl 2021 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. With these types of numbers at play, it’s not surprising networks are keen on the 6:30 p.m. EST kickoff, a time that hasn’t changed since 2017. In fact, since 1991, the Super Bowl has started between 6:00 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. EST. This time slot has proven to be a successful formula for capturing the widest television audience possible while ensuring the game lasts through primetime on the East Coast.
NFL games usually last a little over three hours in real-time, but with an extended halftime and greater emphasis on commercial breaks, the Super Bowl typically takes a bit longer. Assuming there is no overtime, Super Bowl LV should end around 9:50 p.m. EST. In addition to ensuring the largest, nationwide audience possible, a 6:30 p.m. EST start also provides the network a one-hour post-game show in East Coast prime time. Will Tom Brady win his record seventh Super Bowl or will Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs take the next step toward a dynasty with a back-to-back win? Either way, it’s shaping up to give audiences a story found only in the greatest football films. Super Bowl LV kicks off on CBS at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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