This is stunning.

With a 43-8 blowout and a game over in the first half, there seemed to be no chance that Super Bowl XLVIII would break Super Bowl XLVI's viewership record of 111.3 million people. Instead, people stayed to watch and with some commercials running late in the game that had generated some social media buzz, Fox saw an average of 111.5 million viewers making it the most-watched program in U.S. television history.

The rating for the game was a 46.4 and the share was 69 and that is the same as Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on CBS last year.

It means that with live programming and not much not else on (maybe Downton Abbey and Sherlock on PBS and Shameless on Showtime), Fox for all intents and purposes had the entire TV landscape to itself.

The Fox Super Bowl pregame show had a 12.0/22 and averaged a stunning 23.1 million viewers making it the most-watched pregame in 12 years.

And the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars with the Red Hot Chili Peppers averaged 115.3 million viewers breaking the viewership record set by Madonna in Super Bowl XLVI.

Locally another surprise, neither of the home markets, Seattle nor Denver led the ratings. Instead, Kansas City was the top-rated local market with a 58.1/78 followed by Seattle's best ever numbers for a Super Bowl with 56.7/92, then Peyton Manning's former home of Indianapolis with 53.9/74. New Orleans and Tulsa round out the top five local markets. Denver finished 9th with 51.4/83. New York had its best Super Bowl rating (50.5 since Super Bowl XXI when the Giants best Denver).

Imagine if we had a close game and it had been snowing, the numbers could have been much higher perhaps to the 115 million range.

NBC has to be anticipating even better numbers for Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona next year. 


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.