Super Bowl Ratings Roundup: NBC Scores Most-Watched U.S. Program Ever, Record Streaming Audience

Super Bowl XLIX proved to be yet another record-breaker for NBC, as the New England Patriots epic comeback win over the Seattle Seahawks is the most-watched television program in U.S. history and the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 seasons, according to Nielsen fast nationals. The game averaged a record 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 marking the biggest audience to watch a television program in U.S. history.

In terms of ratings, the game earned a 47.5 rating and a 71 share, up 2% over last year’s 46.7/69 for Super Bowl XLVIII and the highest-rated Super Bowl since 1986 (Bears-Patriots, Super Bowl XX, 48.3/70). The 47.5 rating is the 4th highest in Super Bowl history and ranks as 9th highest rated program in television history.

The viewership 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.

In total, the game was viewed by 161.3 million total viewers, marking the seventh consecutive Super Bowl to reach a total audience of more than 150 million viewers. Super Bowls account for the 24 most-viewed programs in history in terms of total audience.

Pre-Game, Halftime, and Post Game Shows Win Big
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 six percent increase from the similar time period last year (68.6 million). Following the game, the Super Bowl XLIX Post-Game Show (10:10-10:38) averaged 72.5 million viewers – up 10% from last year’s 65.8 million viewers for Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX.

Katy Perry’s halftime performance during the 8-8:30 p.m. ET half hour, was seen by 118.5 million viewers, 3 million more viewers more than last year’s halftime featuring Bruno Mars (115.3 million), and is the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show featuring entertainment ever (dating back to 1991). The halftime show earned a 48.2/72 household rating, two percent higher than last year (47.2/70) and is the highest-rated halftime show featuring entertainment ever.

Metered Markets: Boston Impresses, Seattle Crashes
The rating in Boston was the best ever for a Super Bowl in the market (61.0/85), topping the previous high of 56.7/81 for the N.Y. Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI on NBC. However, Seattle tied for a lowly 17th in the metered market rankings with a 52.1/89.

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. New Orleans ranked second among metered markets (55.7/72). Other top markets were Detroit (55.0/71), Norfolk (55.0/76), Chicago (54.9/72), Kansas City (54.5/75), Denver (53.7/79), Indianapolis (53.7/74), and Buffalo (53.6/75).

NBC Sports Live Extra, Verizon’s NFL Mobile Stream to New Heights
The Super Bowl XLIX live stream also delivered record numbers, as Nearly four million total people watched the stream between NBC Sports Live Extra (2.5 mm viewers) and NFL Mobile from Verizon (1.2 mm viewers).

NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of Super Bowl XLIX to desktops and tablets setting new marks for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million), according to Adobe Analytics. In addition to the record traffic, NBC Sports Live Extra delivered a high-quality stream with a long engagement of 84.2 minute per viewer. According to Akamai, the live stream was the highest quality throughput for any Super Bowl.

The 800,000 average viewers per minute was up 52% 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% vs. FOX last year (1.1 million). Viewers of the live stream consumed 213 million minutes, besting by 86% the previous Super Bowl record set by CBS for Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 (114.4 million minutes). The live stream also produced 2.5 million uniques, up 9% vs. FOX last year and up 19% compared to NBC’s live stream in 2012 (2.1 million), which was the first-ever live stream of a Super Bowl.

The 1.2 million viewers on NFL Mobile from Verizon are up 224% from Super Bowl XLVIII. Overall, NFL Mobile from Verizon visitors jumped to 3.3 million on Super Bowl Sunday and have tripled since 2012.

Overall, traffic to NFL digital properties also set all-time records for a Super Bowl, recording more than 21 million visits on Sunday.

Social Media All Abuzz About Big Game
As Facebook has noted, Sunday’s game was the most-talked-about Super Bowl on Facebook ever.  More than 65 million people – up from 50 million in 2014 – joined in the conversation around Super Bowl XLIX with 265 million posts, comments and likes.

Twitter reported that more than 28.4 million global Tweets containing terms related to the game and halftime show were sent during the live telecast (from kickoff through 30 minutes after the clock expired). #SB49 was the most Tweeted @SuperBowl ever, surpassing last year’s game.

Big Ratings North of the Border
The big game also delivered big numbers up north, as Super Bowl XLIX on CTV and RDS set a new all-time Super Bowl Canadian audience record. According to preliminary overnight data from Numeris (BBM Canada), an average audience of 9.2 million viewers on CTV and RDS (CTV: 8.2 million; RDS: 1 million) watched the game – a 13% increase compared to the previous all-time Super Bowl record (8.18 million viewers for 2012’s Super Bowl XLVI) and a 16% increase compared to last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII (7.94 million viewers). In addition, ·         RDS scored its highest Super Bowl audience ever, with Super Bowl XLIX attracting 1 million viewers on RDS across Canada

Overall, 19.3 million unique viewers – or more than one-in-two Canadians (55%) – watched some part of the 2014-15 NFL championship on CTV or RDS. The game on CTV received more than 50% or higher shares among all key adult demos in all markets in English Canada

Super Bowl XLIX’s halftime show saw a double digit growth of 23%* over last year’s broadcast and CTV and RDS peaked with an average minute audience of 12.2 million viewers during the Katy Perry’s halftime performance.

Fans in the Vancouver market showed their support for the cross-border Seahawks, with  Super Bowl XLIX receiving more than a 70% share (2+ and all key adult demos)

Super Bowl Rookie NBC Universo Has Big Debut
The newly relaunched NBC UNIVERSO (formerly mun2), which debuted yesterday, 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.

ESPN’s Hard Work Pays Off
ESPN aired 346 hours of NFL programming during Super Bowl Week across its networks, and American households spent more than seven billion minutes viewing the coverage surrounding Super Bowl XLIX. From the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 25 to NFL PrimeTime after New England’s thrilling 28-24 victory over Seattle – and numerous daily studio shows in between, highlighted by full editions of SportsCenter produced on site in Arizona (a first) – fans watched 7,167,864,300 minutes of NFL programming.  That correlates to 13,628 years of television viewing.

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters