Although connoisseurs of the game will argue that this year’s Super Bowl was far from a classic encounter, the Seattle Seahawks’ dominant performance in Super Bowl XLVIII, defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8, the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl in 21 years, was watched by an average audience of 111.5 million people, more than any television programme in US history, surpassing the previous mark of 111.3 million set by a much more closely contested Super Bowl XLVI (New York Giants-New England Patriots) on NBC.
The game is also now the most-watched programme ever on FOX, breaking the 111.0 million viewer mark the network set for Super Bowl XLV (Green Bay Packers-Pittsburgh Steelers). Three of the last four Super Bowls set average viewership records.
Super Bowl XLVIII posted a 46.4/69, matching the household rating and share for Super Bowl XLVII (Baltimore-San Francisco) a year ago, according to fast national figures issued today by Nielsen, and both, along with Super Bowl XVIII and XIX tie, as the seventh highest-rated Super Bowls ever.
Interest in the game, the first Super Bowl ever played in an outdoor, cold-weather location, and the nation’s No. 1 media market, was unprecedented. The rating at kickoff, 44.5/70, ranks as the highest on record, and +12 per cent over the kick-off rating a year ago, suggesting that a more competitive game would have resulted in even higher viewership. Ratings climbed through the first half and peaked at a 47.9/71 from 7:30-8:00 PM ET as Seattle established a commanding 22-0 half-time lead. Viewership remained impressively high through the fourth quarter, despite the fact that Seattle had the game well in hand. The game earned a 44.0/63 from 9:30-conclusion, meaning that even in the closing minutes, the rating was only 5 per cent lower than it was for the entire game.
The record-breaking trend also extended to the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Half Time Show, with 115.3 million viewers watching Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform. That figure surpasses the 110.8 million delivered by Beyonce last year and the prior record of 114.0 million set by Madonna two years ago.
Live coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII was also available in the US on a Spanish language channel, FOX Deportes, for the first time ever and on digital platforms via FOX Sports GO and FOXSports.com. FOX Deportes averaged 561,000 viewers, the most-watched non-soccer sports event in Spanish cable history. The live stream averaged 528,000 viewers to become the most-watched live stream of a single sports event in history. The contributions of FOX Deportes and the new media outlets raise total viewing of the Super Bowl on an average minute basis to 112.6 million viewers.