HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Super Bowl LI may have made history by going to overtime, but it fell short of setting a viewership record. It drew an average of 111.3 million viewers for Fox, 5th best in history, but was still down slightly from Super Bowl 50 on CBS. Last year’s game drew 111.9 million. The final US household rating was 45.3 down from last year’s 46.6.

Where Super Bowl LI did break a record was in total audience. Fox notes that a total of 172 million people watched any part of the game making it the most watched event in U.S. television history.

In addition to the television audience, Fox noted that the 1.72 million viewers watched the Big Game on Fox Sports Go. That was despite the fact that Fox Sports Go experienced an outage late in the 4th quarter for about ten minutes. And another 650,000 saw the Super Bowl via Fox Deportes, the Spanish language network. So overall, the audience for Super Bowl LI was 113.7 million.

While the game didn’t set a ratings record, it did manage to break a record for online viewing. And the fact that the game went from being a blowout to a historic 31-point New England Patriots comeback.

For the local markets, the top ten rank this way:

1. Pittsburgh — 57.9
2. Buffalo — 57.2
3. Atlanta — 57.0
4. Norfolk — 55.9
5. Richmond — 55.7
6. Milwaukee — 54.8
7. Providence — 54.6
8. Boston — 54.3
9. Indianapolis — 54.1
10. Minneapolis and Hartford (tie) — 54.0

According to Mike Mulvihill of Fox Sports, Boston’s rating began at 51.9, grew at halftime to 56.4, but fell to 52.2 when the Falcons stretched their lead to 28-3, but then grew again when the Patriots came back and peaked at a 57.6.

For the fourth time, the Super Bowl halftime show had more viewers than the game itself:

So overall, the Fox can hang its hat on the total viewers while still knowing that it aired a history-making overtime game.

[Sports TV Ratings]

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