Super Bowl XLIX, which saw the New England Patriots triumph over the Seattle Seahawks in a tight game, will go down as the most-watched television program in U.S. history. That is, until the next Super Bowl comes around to shatter this year’s record.
An average of 114.4 million viewers tuned in to NBC’s broadcast of the big game on Sunday, breaking the record set by last year’s Super Bowl, which had attracted an average audience of 111.5 million viewers. With the exception of 2013, when the game was disrupted by a 34-minute power outage in New Orleans’ Superdome, Super Bowl viewership has been rising continuously over the past decade, growing from 86 million in 2005 to 106 million in 2010 and beyond 114 million this year.
In terms of rating (the percentage of all U.S. TV homes tuning in), this year’s Super Bowl fell short of a thirty-year-old record: in 1982, 49.1 percent of TV homes had tuned in to watch Super Bowl XVI between the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers. This year’s broadcast reached an average rating of 47.5, making it the highest-rated program since 1986.
It’s numbers like these that explain why brands are willing to pay millions to advertise
during the Super Bowl broadcast. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the biggest event in television’s long history?