123.5M People Watched Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

Kansas City and Philly quarterbacks
(Image credit: NFL)

While Fox Sports and Nielsen have yet to release their data for viewing during the big game, newly released data from AdImpact is providing a moment-by-moment analysis of viewing trends at key points in the game. 

Their data suggests that Super Bowl LVII viewing peaked at 124 million near the end of the second quarter and that viewing levels ranged from 98.8 million at kickoff to 113.4 million at the end of the game. About 123.5 million people watched Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. 

“An extraordinary marquee event to complete the 2023 NFL season, Super Bowl LVII between the KC Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, and its Rhianna halftime entertainment show on Fox Network was truly an advertisers’ success,” said Rick McGuire, director of sales at AdImpact. “Viewership was 20% higher than last year’s Super Bowl, reaching over 123M viewers at the peak of halftime. Advertisers who participated in this year’s big game experienced consistent higher ratings as the two teams battled down to the final field goal of the game. The combination of a close game and a younger-skewed halftime show, made for the perfect combination to keep viewers interested right to the final seconds.”

In the first quarter, viewership spiked at kick-off as people tuned into the game for the first time, AdImpact reported. During the national anthem, around 6:30PM, viewership was at 77 million and by kickoff at 6:43PM, 98.8 million fans were watching. 

With the ball in play, 104 million people watched as the Eagles’ scored their first touchdown, AdImpact said. After the first touchdown, viewers were greeted with a star-studded Dunkin Donuts ad with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. 

Following the commercial break, the Chiefs quickly bounced back, scoring their first touchdown less than 10 minutes later with 107.8 million viewers watching. Viewership continued to grow, with 114.6 million tuning in by the end of the first quarter, AdImpact reported. 

In the second quarter, viewership continued to climb even higher as the Eagles’ and Chiefs’ both scored their second touchdown. The Eagles’ scored their third touchdown with 120 million viewers watching. The commercial break after the Eagles’ touchdown saw the return of the M&M candy mascots after the company sought to rebrand using Maya Rudolph as their mascot.

When the Chiefs’ regained possession, steadily more viewers tuned in by the time Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes injured his ankle at 8:03PM, AdImpact reported.

Viewership peaked at the end of the second quarter at about 124 million viewers, shortly after the Eagles’ catch was challenged and overturned.  Although viewership slightly decreased by 1 million as the halftime game reviews were underway, 123.5 million people tuned in to watch Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime show. 

The researchers noted that, as the halftime performance winded down, viewership stood at 121 million to witness the start of the third quarter, with the Chiefs gaining possession. 

Viewership grew as the Chiefs began their comeback, peaking at 122 million views around 8:56PM, around the same time the Chiefs scored their third touchdown. After the third touchdown, FanDuel hosted their “Kick of Destiny” with Rob Gronkowski where fans could wager on the results. 

After the ad break, a key Eagles catch was challenged at 9:09PM with 121.5 million viewing. Heading back to the commercial, Pop Corners aired a Breaking Bad themed ad. By the end of the quarter, there were 120 million viewers still tuned into the game, the researchers said. 

In the fourth quarter, viewership slightly decreased to 119 million viewers but 120 million watched as they quickly scored their fourth touchdown. 

When cutting to the commercial, fans were greeted with a Workday ad featuring such rock stars as Ozzy Osborne. 

Following an Eagles’ touchdown and a 2-point conversion, the game was tied at 35-35 with viewership at 118.9 million. Viewership would remain steady until it dropped to 109M viewers at 10:04PM, around the 2-minute warning.

Following the 2-minute warning, the viewership picked back up to 115 million as the Chiefs had possession and were nearing the goal line to claim the lead with a minute and a half to spare. Viewership began to steadily decline at 10:10PM following a defensive holding call on the Eagles, allowing the Chiefs to run down the clock and seemingly close the door on the Eagles clinching the Lombardi trophy. 

Between the time the Chiefs kicked a field goal to set the game score at 38-35 at 10:12PM, and the Eagles’ last play at 10:14PM, viewership dropped by a million. 

At the end of the game, 113.6 million viewers were watching. 

Overall, viewership remained steady throughout the game, most likely due to a competitive and high scoring Super Bowl game, the researchers said. Immediately following the game, viewership immediately plummeted. By the time of the Lombardi trophy celebration, viewership stood at 75.9 million views.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.