UPDATE: In updated national estimates from Nielsen released Monday afternoon, Sunday’s Super Bowl on NBC set a U.S. television record with 114.4 million viewers — up 2.2 million from the previous high set last year with Seattle and Denver. The six most recent Super Bowl games now claim the top six sports on this list.
Viewership peaked with 120.8 million viewers from 9:45-10 p.m. ET when Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady three two touchdown passes to put the Patriots on top.
The Super Bowl halftime show fronted by Katy Perry was also the highest on record (118.5 million viewers), about 3 million more than last year’s Bruno Mars concert on Fox.
NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of Super Bowl XLIX to desktops and tablets set Super Bowl records for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million), according to Adobe Analytics.
Following post-game coverage, a special episode of “The Blacklist” earned series-high ratings (8.7 in 18-49, 26.5 million viewers overall). These are the best numbers for any entertainment telecast since last year’s Academy Awards on ABC, and this is the most-watched scripted telecast on NBC since the night of the “Friends” finale in May 2004.
This is the best delivery in both 18-49 and total viewers for a post-Super Bowl entertainment program since “The Voice” on NBC three years ago (16.3 rating in 18-49, 37.61 million viewers overall). The most recent drama to air after the game, CBS’ “Elementary” in 2013, averaged a 7.8 demo rating and 20.80 million total viewers.
And the late special “Tonight Show” averaged a 3.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 9.8 million viewers overall — the show’s second best results to date (behind only its February 2014 premiere when it aired following Olympics coverage on the network.)
Nielsen will issue total-viewer estimates later today, but early indications are that Sunday’s Super Bowl thriller between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks could break U.S. television records.
In the metered-market overnights, the Patriots’ 28-24 victory earned a record-high 49.7 household rating/72 share, eclipsing the previous high of 48.1/71 set two years ago when Baltimore defeated San Francisco on CBS. The game did a 61.0/85 in Boston (an all-time Super Bowl high) and a 52.1/89 in Seattle.
After averaging a 44.6 rating in its first half-hour and a 48.0 in the second, Super Bowl XLIX topped a 50 rating in each half hour from 8 p.m. ET to the game’s conclusion, peaking with a 52.9/73 from 10 to 10:15 p.m. ET. The Katy Perry-led halftime show did roughly a 50.8/73 in the overnights from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, up from a 48.6/71 for Bruno Mars’ concert a year ago on Fox.
The Super Bowl has set ratings highs in six of the last seven years, peaking with 112.19 million for the Seahawks’ demolition of the Denver Broncos a year ago on Fox. Last year’s game did a 47.6/70 in the overnights.
Sunday’s game was a nail-biter, with the Patriots rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to go ahead in the closing minutes. The Seahawks had a chance to win but were intercepted at the New England goal line with 20 seconds to play.
Not only was it a great matchup, pitting the best team from each conference during the regular season, but Sunday’s game also benefited from lead-up conversation surrounding allegations that the Patriots purposely deflated the footballs they used in their 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts last month. The NFL is conducting an investigation, but had not made any ruling prior to the Super Bowl.
As is usually the case, the competing networks were battling for crumbs opposite the Super Bowl. ABC’s 10 p.m. “Shark Tank” repeat grabbed the night’s top series score in 18-49 (1.0/2) while CBS’ “Criminal Minds” drew the most total viewers overall (4.1 million) in the same hour.
Following NBC’s post-game coverage, a special episode of second-year drama “The Blacklist” averaged series-best 13.5 household rating/24 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights. This is up 9% from last year’s “New Girl” on Fox (12.4/21) and 13% higher than “Elementary” on CBS in 2013 (12.0/21), the latter of which was hampered by a very late start time of 11:11 p.m. ET.
The last post-Super Bowl telecast to rate higher was “The Voice” on NBC in 2012 (20.0/30).
From 12:13-1:16 a.m. ET, a special edition of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” from Arizona earned a 6.2/16 in the metered markets — the second best score for the program since its debut nearly a year ago (7.1, with an Olympics lead-in). It also did a series-best 3.6 rating in adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s 25 markets with Local People Meters.
The 6.2 is the highest household rating for a latenight post-Super Bowl telecast since “Tonight” averaged a 7.3 in 1998, and it doubled the most recent latenight special (a 3.1 in 2013 for CBS’ “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” which didn’t start until after 12:30 a.m. ET).
In social media, more than 65 million people joined the conversation on Facebook worldwide during Super Bowl XLIV, with over 265 million interactions (posts, comments and likes). Last year’s game saw 50 million unique people talking about the event.
The states with the highest level of conversation on Facebook about the Super Bowl were New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington.