President Joe Biden will again skip a pregame Super Bowl interview embraced by recent presidents as an annual tradition.
Presidents have traditionally sought to leverage the marquee football event’s broad viewership, making Biden’s decision particularly notable in an election year.
Biden participated when NBC and CBS aired the game but sat out last year, when the Super Bowl was aired by Fox. CBS will broadcast the game this year Feb. 11. Variety first reported the news that Biden wouldn’t participate.
“We hope viewers enjoy watching what they tuned in for — the game,” White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt told the entertainment outlet. The White House did not respond to a request for further comment.
Former President Donald Trump skipped an interview with NBC during his presidency in 2018, after heavily criticizing both the network’s reporting and the NFL over player protests during the national anthem.
Former President Barack Obama began the tradition of sitting for a formal pregame broadcast interview.
The Super Bowl typically draws tens of millions of viewers, a far larger audience than the president can expect to attract in most media appearances. In 2023, the game set a new record of some 115 million viewers.
In the lead-up to this year’s Super Bowl, a conspiracy theory surrounding pop star Taylor Swift — who endorsed Biden in 2020 — gained traction on the right. Prominent conservative figures, including former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, have suggested that the game is fixed in favor of Swift’s beau, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, to give Swift a prime platform to deliver an endorsement.