Last Sunday's Super Bowl XLV was the most watched telecast in TV history, attracting some 111 million viewers to Fox as Hollywood debuted new trailers for a number of highly anticipated films - and the Green Bay Packers topped the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The juggernaut ratings win for Super Bowl XLV marks a 5% increase over last year's record viewership of 106 million viewers. Total viewership last Sunday also bested the audience of 106 million that tuned in twenty-eight years ago for the 1983 series finale of M*A*S*H.
Super Bowl XLV posted a 46.0/69 household rating/share to equal Super Bowl XXX some fifteen years ago as the highest-rated game since Super Bowl XX in 1986 - the year that Walter Payton's Chicago Bears bested the New England Patriots in a game that's still fondly remembered and regularly celebrated in contemporary pop culture.
Sunday also proved a big day for 'Bowls' in general, with Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl VII also seeing ratings and social media success.
At one point, The Puppy Bowl had three trending topics on Twitter Sunday, with #puppybowl placing second only to #SuperBowl. According to Entertainment Weekly, The Puppy Bowl drew 9.2 million viewers - although it should be noted that Animal Planet includes all twelve hours of Sunday's Puppy Bowl programming in that audience total. Still, the premiere episode of The Puppy Bowl drew 1.7 million viewers alone, a 60% increase over last year.
Puppies aside, the only aspect of Super Bowl XLV that went to the dogs was the the half time show, which saw the ratings dip to 110.2 million viewers.
According to Nielsen, viewership for the big game peaked, as expected, during the 9:30 p.m. half-hour in the fourth quarter. Fox's ratings victory comes after a long season of consistently strong viewership for NFL games and programming on NBC and ESPN. Similarly, this season, both CBS and Fox enjoyed their largest audiences for afternoon NFL games in years.
Not surprisingly, no competing major network garnered better than 1% of the available 18-49 viewership during Fox's presentation of Super Bowl XLV. But as Variety reported this week, following the postgame show, Fox's special telecast of Glee, which attracted 26.8 million viewers overall, didn't perform as well as last year's post-Super Bowl much-hyped premiere of Undercover Boss which drew 38.6 million viewers overall.
Source: Variety, Entertainment Weekly