HomeAmerican FootballSuper Bowl LVIII breaks record as most-watched program in US television history

Super Bowl LVIII breaks record as most-watched program in US television history

Super Bowl LVIII breaks record as most-watched program in US television history

Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers set a record for the longest Super Bowl game in history – and they have also clinched the title of the most-watched program ever in US television history.

According to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics, the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory on Sunday night (Monday AEDT) captivated an average of 123.4 million viewers across both television and streaming platforms, marking a significant increase of seven percent from last year’s record-setting viewership of 115.1 million during Kansas City’s narrow victory over Philadelphia Eagles.

The game was broadcast on CBS, Nickelodeon and Univision, and streamed on Paramount+ and the NFL’s digital platforms, ensuring widespread accessibility to viewers. Nielsen reported a staggering 202.4 million people tuning in to watch at least part of the game across all networks, marking a 10 percent surge from the previous year’s figure of 183.6 million.

CBS’s broadcast alone averaged 120 million viewers, smashing the network’s previous Super Bowl record of 112.34 million set during the 2016 game between Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

Part of the increased viewership can be attributed to a change in the way viewers are counted, with Nielsen now including out-of-home viewers in its ratings since 2020 – a practice expected to expand to cover all 50 states later this year.

This game marked only the second time in 58 Super Bowls that the match went into overtime – the previous instance being in 2017 when New England Patriots staged a huge comeback to edge out Atlanta Falcons. The nail-biting overtime finish, with the Kansas City Chiefs clinching victory with Patrick Mahomes’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman with three seconds of OT left, left fans on the edge of their seats.

Pop megastar Taylor Swift was in attendance – among a bevy of celebrity fans – drawing attention to her relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and bringing new fans to the NFL.

The success of this year’s Super Bowl follows a trend of increased viewership in recent years, with the game averaging over 100 million viewers for the second consecutive year – a stark contrast to the previous period where four out of five games before 2023 fell short of that mark due to cord-cutting trends.

Univision also made history with over 2.2 million viewers, marking the highest Super Bowl viewership on record for a Spanish-language network since the game has been televised in Spanish in the United States since 2014.

The NFL playoffs also saw a significant increase in viewership overall, averaging 38.5 million viewers during the first three weekends, reflecting a nine percent rise compared to the previous year. This surge in interest follows a regular season that saw an average of 17.9 million viewers per game, tied for the second highest since averages were first tracked in 1995.

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