Super Bowl Earns Largest Ever U.S. TV Audience (Again)

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For the third consecutive year, the Super Bowl earned the largest U.S. television audience of all time.

The 2012 Super Bowl, won by the Giants over the Patriots, earned a 47.0 fast-national rating and 111.3 million viewers on NBC Sunday evening — up 2% in ratings and less than 1% in viewership from last year (GB/PIT: 46.0, 111.010M, FOX), and up 4% and 5%, respectively, from 2010 (NO/IND: 45.0, 106.476M, CBS).

The game ranks as the most-viewed U.S. television program of all time, and the highest rated since the 1994 Winter Olympics on CBS (48.5).

This is the third straight year that the Super Bowl has earned the largest U.S. television audience in history. Prior to 2010, the most-viewed program was the 1983 series finale of M*A*S*H on CBS (105.970M).

In addition, this is the fifth straight year that the Super Bowl has hit a record-high in viewership. Prior to 2008, the most-viewed Super Bowl of all time was the 1996 Cowboys/Steelers game (94.080M, NBC).

Viewership for the Super Bowl has increased in seven consecutive years, adding 25 million viewers since the 2005 Patriots/Eagles game earned just 86.072 million on FOX. The seven consecutive years of growth is the longest such streak in the history of the Super Bowl. Having said that, Giants/Patriots had the smallest increase in viewership of those seven games.

Sunday’s game was a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, which the Giants also won. The 2008 game earned a 43.1 final rating and 97.448 million viewers on FOX.

Ratings and viewership peaked at a 50.7 and 117.7 million from 9:30-9:58 PM ET, just above last year’s peak of 49.2 and 117.2 million in a similar timeslot (9:30-10 PM).

Ratings/Viewership For the Super Bowl
Past decade

Year Super Bowl Date Game Net Rating Viewers (000)
2012
XLVI
Sun., 2/5/12 NYG 21, NE 17 NBC
47.0
111,300
2011
XLV
Sun., 2/6/11 GB 31, PIT 25 FOX
46.0
111,010
2010
XLIV
Sun., 2/7/10 NO 31, IND 17 CBS
45.0
106,476
2009
XLIII
Sun., 2/1/09 PIT 27, ARI 23 NBC
42.0
98,732
2008
XLII
Sun., 2/3/08 NYG 17, NE 14 FOX
43.1
97,448
2007
XLI
Sun., 2/4/07 IND 29, CHI 17 CBS
42.6
93,184
2006
XL
Sun., 2/5/06 PIT 21, SEA 10 ABC
41.6
90,745
2005
XXXIX
Sun., 2/6/05 NE 24, PHI 21 FOX
41.1
86,072
2004
XXXVIII
Sun., 2/1/04 NE 32, CAR 29 CBS
41.4
89,795
2003
XXXVII
Sun., 1/26/03 TB 48, OAK 21 ABC
40.7
88,637
2002
XXXVI
Sun., 2/3/02 NE 20, STL 17 FOX
40.4
86,801

(Sunday’s numbers from NBC Sports Group press release)

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  • MarlinInc

    NBC is the best.