123.4 Million Viewers, Biggest Telecast Ever

The Feb. 11 Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers brought in an average of 123.4 million viewers — the highest number of people watching the same broadcast in the history of television.

112 million of those viewers were tuned into the CBS broadcast — the largest audience ever for a single network. The rest were measured across Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision, CBS Sports and NFL digital properties including NFL+. Per Paramount Global, Paramount+ saw record-breaking viewership that made Sunday the most-streamed Super Bowl ever, but exact data regarding streaming views isn’t available.

Before this, the biggest telecast of all time was last year’s Super Bowl game between the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. It was initially named the third most-watched, ranking behind the 2015 and 2017 Super Bowls which brought in 114.4 million and 113.7 million viewers, respectively. But Nielsen later caught errors in their measurement that raised the tally from 113 million to a record-breaking 115.1 million viewers. Sunday’s game improved on that number by 7%.

These figures, combined from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics, represent the average number of viewers who were tuned in at any given moment during each game, but Nielsen puts the number of people who viewed any portion of the telecast at 202.4 million, up 10% from last year’s 184 million.

The game took place at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Kickoff was at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET following a half-hour block of entertainment led by Reba McEntire’s rendition of the National Anthem. The half-time performance was headlined by Usher, who brought out A-list guests including Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Will.i.am, Lil John, Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri.

As always, the Super Bowl was stitched together with a host of celebrity-filled ads. Prominent among them on Sunday night was a Verizon spot featuring Beyoncé and Tony Hale, which the former used to announce “Renaissance Act II,” a country album set to follow up on 2022’s “Renaissance” and due for release on March 29.

Besides the football, the music and the commercials, there was one other potential viewership draw: Taylor Swift. For months, a media frenzy has followed the pop star’s relationship with Chiefs player Travis Kelce and her appearances at his games, and while some pieces of data suggest that Swift’s attendance has boosted NFL ratings, others are less clear. (Consumer research firm Numerator concluded from a flash poll that 20% of Super Bowl viewers were rooting for the Chiefs because of Swift.) Regardless, hordes of fans were glued to their screens as Swift entered the arena alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice and when she kissed Kelce at the end of the game in celebration of the Chiefs’ win.


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