Super Bowl most-watched program in TV history

Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Super Bowl XLV was the most-watched telecast in TV history, delivering 111 million viewers.

For the fourth year in a row, the big game broke viewership records, climbing 5 percent from last year’s previous high. (Glee ratings are in; see them here). By comparison, the season finale of MASH drew 106. million.

The Super Bowl audience has climbed every year since 2005, peaking last year at 106 million viewers and a 38.6 adults 18-49 rating. Last night’s 47.9 metered market household rating — which gives you a sense of the percentage of viewers that tuned in — is 3 percent higher than last year’s overnight number. Updates to come, refresh for latest…

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Comments (64 total) Add your comment
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  • Rolfe

    What about Glee?

    • kate

      The article says that the actual total number of viewers for Glee and the Super Bowl will be out in a few hours.

    • SteveStrifeX

      Too hard to give preliminary numbers on Glee, as most markets didn’t air Glee until 10:40, and many in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had local news sports coverage for the hour. Numbers will probably be out later this afternoon

  • Nat

    GO PACKERS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jay

    And why shouldn’t this break records. The super Bowl is, BY FAR, the most exciting sports championship to watch…

    The World Series and NBA championships are both snooze-fests.
    The Stanley Cup is OK, but only the last game or two is worth watching.

    • Sue

      No way, the Stanley Cup is the BEST sports championship!!!

      • Jay

        If that was true… a REAL network would show it. But thanks anyway.

      • Pat

        I agree, the Stanley cup is by far the most interesting to watch. But the SB is watchable because of the half-time show and commercials

      • Bustin Jieber

        NBC shows the Stanley Cup playoffs Jay, and it is the best sports championship. Get over yourself!

      • the Vicster

        like Jay said, if it was true, a REAL network would who it…not NBC

      • Pat

        Well if the Super Bowl was a real competition, why does the Lombardi trophy look like a small midget penis? I mean common grow a pair and give out a real trophy

      • BigDaddyDK

        It takes 7 games to figure out who the best is between two teams? Why not have them put it all on the line for one game — winner takes all?

      • Jay

        Really?! Some places has NBC showing this?? I had to watch on Comcast Sportsnet last year.

        I guess it depends on the market

      • Sam

        In order best to worst – 1)Super bowl, 2)Stanley Cup, 3)NBA Final, 4)World Series

    • panda

      Both NBA and MLB championships are best of 7. Super bowl is a one shot game.
      There’s so much more finality in the Super bowl versus Game 1 or Game 3 of the NBA championship.
      Plus the games can extend during the week, making it hard to catch with work and school.
      The Super bowl is part of our culture. I mean, look at these articles on EW.

  • Rob

    Most watched SB ever but least watched half time show ever!

    • BigDaddyDK

      Mainly because most of us were down on hands and knees cleaning up the urp we put down when it started.

  • jfms777

    Black Eyed Peas awful. Bring back Springsteen.

    • Willy Brown

      We don’t need mumbles on the mic at half time.

      • Zippy

        Black Eyed Peas = Mighty Morphing Power Rangers….

  • Sarah

    I usually don’t care for when the “old dudes” perform the Superbowl Halftime shows, but the BEP showed me why. They were TERRIBLE.

    • panda

      Ditto. And I listen to the BEP otherwise but the way they were arranged on the stage and their performance…not good. Usher and Sting were good though.

      • Eric

        it was slash not sting

      • panda

        My bad. Thanks.

    • Willy Brown

      All most all the “old dudes” are talented, learn and hone their craft along the way and were judged by their peers for their future. Most of today’s microphone lip synch holders heavily reply on computers and Pro Tools to save their sorry talentless azz.

  • HUH??

    Can we get an audit here? I find it extremely hard to believe that this (and other Super Bowls) still pull these gargantuan ratings. Each and every friend I got in touch with yesterday (football buds during the season and playoffs – go Eagles!)had little or no interest. I can’t imagine that the feeling was so strong nationwide. If you slip past the channel, do they count you as “tuned in”?

    • panda

      That’s where you make a mistake. A lot of people don’t like watching football, but they do watch the Super bowl. I love football and while this match up was ok, I watch cause it’s the last football game for a loooooong time. Half time show + ads=casual viewer attracted
      You’ll be surprised…I know lots of people who hate football but watch the Super bowl.

  • lolbama

    Thinking back on all the halftime shows, for some reason Sting and U2 come to mind as really good ones. The Who was alright. Springsteen and BEP were C performances.

  • Scott

    Not bad ratings for the 2nd largest game on TV. The Final match of the FIFA World Cup had about 5 times as many viewers world wide.

    • BigDaddyDK

      That’s because the rest of the world mistakenly thinks of soccer as a sport.

      • Sam

        Do you think it’s a coincidence that the entire world apart from the US loves (real) football and doesn’t care about American football at all? Do you think it just might be down to the fact that the stop/start nature of American Football makes it relentlessly dull? Just sayin’.

    • meToo

      No 7 times!!! The US soccer team suck that’s why no one gives a damn

  • Darla Olson

    People watched SB simply because there was nothing else on…personally, I watched reruns of Law & Order and only switched over at commercial breaks and last minute to see who won…..

  • Brooke

    Not a surprise. Look at the previous high – 1987. In the 90s, the Super Bowls were so one-sided and boring. Over the last decade and particularly the last 4 or 5, the games have been good with many staying interesting into the final minute. It’s actually engaging football and I think that this is leading people to tune in again.

    • panda

      Well, a lot of people favored the Packers before the Super bowl. Funny thing though is that while previous games SEEMED one sided (Indy vs. NO, Pitt vs. AZ, New Eng. vs. NY), the games were great and surprising. The favorites lost in 2 of those games, and Arizona almost beat Pitt.

  • bob

    This from the smallest professional team market in ANY spiort team organization….Green Bay, a city of 75,000.00 Dpeople.

    • Juneau

      And because Green Bay is so small, all of Wisconsin thinks of them as their team (not to mention they are the only team owned by the people). So better to think about the population of all of WI as die-hard fans. And I don’t know if ANY big city in the US that does not have a Packer Bar. Same for the Steelers. They are popular all across the US.

  • srw

    That’s odd. People were saying no one would watch as the teams were too small a market and unpopular. Guess that theory was wrong. I thought it would have been larger last year as most of the East Coast was snowed in with nothing better to do.

  • swthompson

    you guys underestimate the value of being a previous champion. Many in my area are Packer fans because they were fans from childhood. I also know of Steeler fans who have been fans since Bradshaw. Packers/Steelers might not sound interesting to the casual viewer, but to those of us who’ve grown up with the sport? Classic match-up.

  • GS

    The Steelers have some of the most dedicated fans of any NFL team and they are everywhere! So does Green Bay. I’m not surprised at the ratings. Two great young QB’s with great teams around them. I’m glad Green Bay won since my team sucked so bad they got the first round draft pick.

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