A lighter TV audience compared to the 2015 Super Bowl, but the NFL’s golden championship ended up as the third-highest watched program in American television history with a viewership of 112 million—a drop of 2.3 percent from last year’s game, which stands as the highest-watched program in the country’s history.
Super Bowl 50 pitted the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers; Super Bowl 49 showcased another matchup of dueling quarterbacks, when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks took their game against each other down to the final play.
Nielsen estimated an average audience of 111.9 million nationally were watching during Peyton Manning’s would-be swan song game, where the Broncos cruised to a 24-10 victory over Cam Newton and the Panthers. Super Bowl 50 peaked with its highest audience for just 30 minutes from 8:30-9 p.m. E.T. during the Pepsi halftime show—the trio of talent included British rock band Coldplay, and pop singers Beyonce Knowles and Bruno Mars. The halftime performance was viewed by 115.5 million, according to Nielsen.
- READ MORE >> Super Bowl Stock Predictor
Denver has acquired a taste for the spotlight, Super Bowl 50 marked their second trip to the TV Hall of Fame—the only other American TV programs which have tallied larger viewerships are the aforementioned Super Bowl 49 (114.4 million), and Super Bowl 48 (112.2 million), where the Broncos met with the Seahawks as well.
The game was also live-streamed through NFL and CBS online properties, averaging 1.4 million viewers, with said viewers consuming more than 315 million minutes of coverage across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones, according to CBS. Super Bowl 50 was carried nationally on ESPN Deportes, viewership numbers are yet to be made available.
Though it ranked third all-time, the game set the new standard for viewers who tuned in for a minimum of five minutes—167 million people, which sets a television record. A title the CBS network has had a firm grip on since the 2013 Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, where 164.1 million consumed a minimum of five minutes.
In specific demographics, Super Bowl 50 drew a 46.6 rating for viewers between the ages of 18-49—a 1.9 percent decline from last year’s 47.5 rating. The Super Bowl champion of all demographics remains the 49.1/73 rating that that the January 24, 1982 game between the victorious San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals pulled in for CBS.
Here is a brief history of the most-watched TV programs in the past six years, all of which are Super Bowls:
1. Super Bowl 49 (2015): 114.4 million average viewers (Patriots-Seahawks)
2. Super Bowl 48 (2014): 112.2 million (Seahawks-Broncos)
3. Super Bowl 50 (2016): 111.9 million (Broncos-Panthers)
4. Super Bowl 46 (2012): 111.3 million (Giants-Patriots)
5. Super Bowl 45 (2011): 111.0 million (Packers-Steelers)
6. Super Bowl 47 (2013): 108.7 million (Ravens-Niners)
7. Super Bowl 44 (2010): 106.5 Million (Saints-Colts)
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII