Super Bowl LV is set to kick off February 7, and while the pandemic means most viewers won’t be attending the usual parties with friends and family to watch the big game, it’s still expected to draw a massive audience.
The annual contest to decide the National Football League’s champion has normally been the most-watched TV broadcast in the United States in a given year since its inception 55 years ago. The growing use of live-streaming services in recent years has boosted game-day viewership even further—both nationally and internationally.
What are the highlights to watch for?
Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will try to repeat as champions, but it won’t be easy. Standing in their path are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by seemingly ageless quarterback Tom Brady, who has already captured six Super Bowl championships when he played for the New England Patriots. This marks Brady’s 10th appearance in a Super Bowl, but his first without Patriots coach Bill Belichick sharing the sidelines.
Brady already has more Super Bowl rings than any other player, and another win will give him more Super Bowl victories than any other franchise (the Pittsburgh Steelers and Patriots both have six). The Chiefs, meanwhile, are seeking their third championship, including a second consecutive Super Bowl.
The game is expected to be close. Most Las Vegas oddsmakers listed the Chiefs as the early favorite after the matchup was finalized, giving three points, but this is subject to change up until kickoff.
With the arrival of live-streaming services, there are a growing number of ways to watch the Super Bowl—a far cry from decades ago when most Americans had to settle for viewing a snowy reception on analog TVs with “rabbit ears” antennas. Thinking about what’s best for your viewing pleasure? Here’s what to keep in mind to help you decide which way to watch and what to expect during the game:
How can I watch the game through my TV provider?
CBS is televising the game and, as expected, will be turning to their broadcasting A-Team to deliver the goods.
Jim Nantz will do play-by-play and Tony Romo will provide color commentary. Jay Feely, Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn will report from the sidelines. Providing rules analysis will be Gene Steratore.
Kickoff is 6:30 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST). CBS will air five consecutive pregame shows before game time, the first airing 11:30 am EST. It will also provide post-game analysis.
NBC was originally scheduled to televise this year’s big game, with CBS slated to broadcast next season’s Super Bowl. However, the two networks cut a deal to swap years, so NBC could have both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics in 2022. This is the 21st time CBS will air the contest. Super Bowl LV—or Super Bowl 55, as non-traditionalists prefer—is also available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. ESPN and the NFL Network will also provide pre- and post-game analysis throughout the day.
How else can I watch the game, including streaming services?
You can watch the game for free on your phone or connected TV devices by using CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App or with a subscription to CBS All Access.
Other streaming services showing the Super Bowl include YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, FuboTV, AT&T TV and Sling TV.
Where will the game be played?
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. This is the first time a team playing in the Super Bowl is hosting the game in its own stadium.
Will fans be attending the Super Bowl LV?
Yes, but in a limited capacity because of the pandemic. Raymond James Stadium seats 75,000, but only 22,000 fans will be allowed to watch in person—including 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers that the NFL invited to honor and thank for their service during the pandemic.
The League has set protocols for the game, including mandatory mask-wearing and various social distancing measures, including podded seating and touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions, restrooms and security checkpoints, as well as controlled entrances and exits.
Will there be live entertainment at the game?
Even a pandemic can’t keep the glitz out of the Super Bowl.
Grammy Award–winning artist The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, will perform the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show. Grammy-nominated artists Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan together will sing the National Anthem as part of the pregame lineup. Grammy Award–winning singer H.E.R. will sing “America the Beautiful.” All pregame and halftime events will air on CBS.
But wait, there’s more: Grammy-nominated artist Miley Cyrus will showcase the NFL TikTok Tailgate.
For the first time, the NFL is partnering with TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile video, to invite the world into the Super Bowl pregame celebration at the stadium. Fans watching in the U.S. and Canada can tune into @NFL on TikTok for two hours of live, exclusive pregame content beginning at 2:30 PM EST. The NFL TikTok Tailgate will also feature “special guests from the NFL, TikTok creators, surprise musical performances, gameday cooking segments, and much more,” according to the NFL. Portions of Cyrus’s performance will be televised in the CBS Super Bowl LV Pregame Show.
Program availability and air times may vary and are subject to change. Some streaming platforms will require a subscription at an additional fee.