Super Bowl XLIX is Super Watched

PHOENIX—By now, nearly everyone has heard NBC ballyhoo that Super Bowl XLIX was “the most-watched television program in U.S. history and the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 seasons,” according to “fast national” Nielsen data. The New England Patriots’ fourth-quarter route of the Seattle Seahawks was seen by a 114.4 million viewers (6:31-10:10 p.m. ET), topping by 2.2 million viewers last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox and “is the biggest audience to watch a television program in U.S. history,” NBC said.

The final episode of “M*A*S*H,” however, appeared to have held the record for peak viewership at 125 million. Here’s what NBC supplied as the list of most-watched shows in U.S. TV history. All Super Bowls are measured as full telecasts:

1. 114.4 Million – Super Bowl XLIX, NBC (Sunday’s Game)
2. 112.2 Million – Super Bowl XLVIII, Fox (Feb. 2014)
3. 111.3 Million – Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Feb. 2012)
4. 111.0 Million – Super Bowl XLV, Fox (Feb. 2011)
5. 108.7 Million – Super Bowl XLVII, CBS (Feb. 2013)
6. 106.5 Million – Super Bowl XLIV, CBS (Feb. 2010)
7. 106.0 Million – M.A.S.H. Finale, CBS (Feb. 1983)
8. 98.7 Million – Super Bowl XLIII, NBC (Feb. 2009)

Sunday’s game earned a 47.5 rating and a 71 share, a gain of two percent from last year’s 46.7/69 for Super Bowl XLVIII and is the highest-rated Super Bowl since 1986 (Bears-Patriots, Super Bowl XX, 48.3/70). The 47.5 rating is the fourth highest in Super Bowl history and ranks as ninth highest rated program in television history.

1. 49.1/73 – Super Bowl XVI, CBS (Jan. 1982)
2. 48.6/69 – Super Bowl XVII, NBC (Jan. 1983)
3. 48.3/70 – Super Bowl XX, NBC (Jan. 1986)
4. 47.5/71 – Super Bowl XLIX, NBC (Sunday’s Game)
5. 47.2/67 – Super Bowl XII, CBS (Jan. 1978)
6. 47.1/74 – Super Bowl XIII, NBC (Jan. 1979)
7. 47.0/71 – Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Feb. 2012)
8. 46.7/69 – Super Bowl XLVIII, Fox (Feb. 2014)
T9. 46.4/71 – Super Bowl XVIII, CBS (Jan. 1984)
T9. 46.4/63 – Super Bowl XIX, ABC (Jan. 1985)
T9. 46.4/69 – Super Bowl XLVII, CBS (Feb. 2013)

Viewership Sunday peaked at 120.8 million viewers from 9:45-10 p.m. ET during the fourth quarter, when Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

6:31-7, 99.5 million
7-7:30, 109.7 million
7:30-8, 116.6 million
8-8:30, 118.5 million
8:30-9, 118.1 million
9-9:30, 116.9 million
9:30-10, 119.2 million
10-10:10, 120.3 million
6:31-7, 42.7/68
7-7:30, 45.9/71
7:30-8, 48.0/72
8-8:30, 48.2/72
8:30-9, 48.2/71
9-9:30, 48.2/70
9:30-10, 50.2/72
10-10:10, 51.3/74

From 6-6:30 p.m. ET, the Super Bowl XLIX pre-game show averaged 72.7 million viewers, ranking as the most watched pre-kickoff segment on record (since the advent of the People Meter in 1988), and a 6 percent increase from the similar time period last year (68.6 million).

The Super Bowl XLIX Post-Game Show (10:10-10:38) averaged 72.5 million viewers – up 10 percent from last year’s 65.8 million viewers for Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox.

NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of Super Bowl XLIX averaged 800,000 viewers per minute, 1.3 million concurrent users and 213 million total minutes viewed, according to Adobe Analytics. Engagement averaged 84.2 minute per viewer.

The 800,000 average viewers per minute was up 52 percent when compared to Fox’s stream of Super Bowl XLVIII last year, which was believed to be the previous record and averaged 528,000 viewers per minute. Concurrent users peaked at 1.3 million at the moment when Patriots CB Malcolm Butler made his game-winning interception in the final seconds, and is up 18 percent vs. Fox 1.1 million last year.

Viewers of the live stream consumed 213 million minutes, besting by 86 percent the previous Super Bowl record set by CBS for Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 at 114.4 million minutes. The live stream also produced 2.5 million uniques, up 9 percent over last year’s Fox stream and up 19 percent compared to NBC’s live stream in 2012 of 2.1 million, which was the first-ever live stream of a Super Bowl.

The halftime performance by Katy Perry during the 8-8:30 p.m. ET half hour, was seen by 118.5 million viewers, 3 million more than last year’s halftime featuring Bruno Mars, and was the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show featuring entertainment ever, dating back to 1991.

NBC Universo, formerly mun2, which debuted Sunday, peaked at 457,000 viewers (with 368,000 average viewers throughout the telecast) for its exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl XLIX. This marks its most-viewed program outside of soccer in the channel’s history.

In terms of local markets, Boston was the best ever for a Super Bowl (61.0/85), topping the previous high of 56.7/81 for the N.Y. Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI on NBC. The host market of Phoenix registered a 55.6/82 rating, the highest for a Super Bowl in the market, topping the prior Phoenix mark of 51.1 for Packers-Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in Feb. 2011.

1. Boston, 61.0/85
2. New Orleans, 55.7/72
3. Phoenix, 55.6/82
T4. Detroit, 55.0/71
T4. Norfolk, 55.0/76
6. Chicago, 54.9/72
7. Kansas City, 54.5/75
T8. Denver, 53.7/79
T8. Indianapolis, 53.7/74
10. Buffalo, 53.6/75
*Seattle tied for 17th with a 52.1/89