You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Super Bowl 50 Ratings: CBS Draws Third Largest Audience on Record

Live 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Nets 21.1 Million

CBS’ telecast of the Golden Super Bowl from the Golden State on Sunday has fallen short of last year’s record audience for the big game, but has become the third most-watched program in U.S. television history.

Nielsen estimates that an average audience of 111.9 million were watching throughout the Denver Broncos’ 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, peaking with 115.5 million from 8:30-9 p.m. ET for the halftime show. The only telecasts to draw a larger audience were last year’s Super Bowl between New England and Seattle on NBC (114.4 million) and the 2014 matchup between Seattle and Denver on Fox (112.2 million).

The game was also broadcast nationally by ESPN Deportes, averaging 472,000 viewers. According to CBS, streaming coverage of the game on CBS and NFL properties averaged 1.4 million viewers, and viewers consumed more than 315 million minutes of coverage across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones.

CBS Interactive sold live stream ads together with broadcast for incremental value. National ads ran in the same spots on the broadcast and live stream for the first time this year.

In terms of total reach, Sunday’s game drew 167 million people who watched at least six minutes — a television record. CBS had also previously held this record when 164.1 million watched its coverage of the 2013 Super Bowl between Baltimore and San Francisco.

Following the Super Bowl post-game show, a special live edition of “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” averaged 21.1 million viewers, about three times the show’s prior largest audience (6.55 million), set with its premiere last September, and the largest ever for the “Late Show” franchise. This viewership total is in line with what “Elementary” drew three years ago on CBS (20.8 million) but below most other recent hourlong post-Super Bowl programs including last year’s “The Blacklist” on NBC (25.7 million).

Review: Stephen Colbert’s Super Bowl Episode Squanders Big-Game Showcase

In adults 18-49, “Late Show” generated a 7.9 rating, a little below last year’s “Blacklist” (8.4) and in line with “Elementary” (7.8) as the lowest-rated post-Super Bowl program of at least the past 20 years. Among all “Late Show” telecasts over the years, though, the 7.9 is second only to the premiere of the program with David Letterman as host in 1993.

And following late local newscasts, a special edition of “Late Late Show with James Corden” averaged a series-high 4.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in 18-49. This is even in the demo and up in total viewers (from 4.26 million) from a telecast of “Late Late Show” three years ago on Super Bowl night (with Craig Ferguson hosting).

In social media, roughly 60 million people worldwide joined the Super Bowl conversation on Facebook, and the 200 million posts, comments and likes for this year’s game is the second highest for any Super Bowl measured by Facebook, behind only last year. The three most popular players were Peyton Manning (10 million people, 19 million interactions), Cam Newton (5 million people, 8 million interactions) and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller (1.8 million people, 2.7 million interactions).

According to global marketing technology company Amobee Intelligence, there were 13.65 million tweets directly mentioning the Super Bowl between 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and 6:30 a.m. ET on Monday. While they didn’t officially advertise during the broadcast, Esurance was by far the brand with the most real-time success around the game, generating 1.85 million tweets during the 12-hour period starting with the game.

2015 — New England-Seattle (NBC) ………………..  114.4 million
2014 — Seattle-Denver (Fox) …………………………..  112.2 million
2016 — Denver-Carolina (CBS) ……………………….  111.9 million
2012 — NY Giants-New England (NBC) ……………  111.3 million
2011 — Green Bay-Pittsburgh (Fox) …………………  111.0 million

Source: Nielsen

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • NBCUNIVERSAL LOGOS -- Pictured: "E!" Logo

    NBCUniversal Cable Hit With Significant Layoffs Amid Restructuring

    Amid an executive restructuring, another round of layoffs are set to impact NBCUniversal’s E!, Bravo, Oxygen, USA and Syfy networks Thursday, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, not long after the E! network laid off around 20-25 staff in August. This round of layoffs is likely to impact fewer than 45 employees, more [...]

  • Peaky Blinders Season 5

    Time-Jumping Season 5 of 'Peaky Blinders' Aims for a More Cinematic Look

    Cinematographer Si Bell was thrilled to learn he and director Anthony Byrne had been tapped to shoot the fifth season of BBC’s “Peaky Blinders,” but surprised to find out how free a hand executive producers Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook were giving them to determine the scheme of their six-episode run. “I expected to meet the [...]

  • Daniel Levy Schitts Creek

    'Schitt's Creek' Co-Creator Dan Levy Signs ABC Studios Overall Deal

    “Schitt’s Creek” breakout Dan Levy has signed a multi-year overall deal at ABC Studios. Under the deal, Levy will develop and produce scripted projects for the studio. “Dan Levy has proven himself as one of the most creative people in the TV business,” said Jonnie Davis, president of ABC Studios. “His writing, acting and producing [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Live Results

    TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' Finale Draws 10 Million Viewers

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not seen the season 14 finale of “America’s Got Talent.” The finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which saw blind, autistic singer Kodi Lee crowned the winner, drew almost exactly 10 million viewers for the Peacock on Wednesday night. Bolstered by a robust, velvety Cher performance, [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

  • Programme Name: The Cry - TX:

    Brazil, U.K. Lead International Emmy Awards Nominations

    Brazil and the U.K. lead the pack in this year’s International Emmy Awards nominations, which span 21 countries across 11 categories. Titles and talent from Britain and Brazil will vie with other hopefuls for the trophy in five categories: drama, best performance by an actor, best performance by an actress, arts programming and documentary. Brazilian [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content