Super Bowl XLVII Least-Viewed Since 2010, Still Third-Best TV Program Ever

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Though the 49ers came back to make it interesting, Super Bowl XLVII could not overcome an early lopsided score Sunday night.

The Ravens/49ers Super Bowl earned a 46.4 final rating and 108.7 million viewers on CBS Sunday — down 1% in ratings and 2% in viewership from Giants/Patriots on NBC last year (47.0, 111.3M), and up 1% and down 2%, respectively, compared to Packers/Steelers on FOX in 2011 (46.0, 111.0M).

As with the overnight, the final numbers do not include the half-hour power outage that halted play. The delay earned a 44.4 and 106.6 million viewers.

Super Bowl XLVII ranks as the least-viewed edition of the game since Saints/Colts on CBS in 2010 (106.5M). This marks the first time since Patriots/Eagles in 2005 that viewership has declined for the Super Bowl.

With that said, Sunday’s game ranks as the third-most viewed program in U.S. television history, behind only Giants/Patriots last year and Packers/Steelers in 2011. In addition, the game ranks as the second-highest rated program on U.S. television since the 1994 Winter Olympics.

The last four Super Bowl telecasts rank as the four most-viewed programs in U.S. TV history. The series finale of “M*A*S*H” — which was the most-viewed U.S. TV program for 27 years until Saints/Colts broke the record in 2010 — ranks as the top non-Super Bowl program with 105.97 million viewers.

Relative to the NFL, the last six Super Bowl telecasts rank as the most-viewed in the 47-year history of the game. From 1996 until 2008, Cowboys/Steelers was the top Super Bowl with 94.1 million viewers.

The decline for Sunday’s Super Bowl concludes a rare down year for the NFL. The four primary NFL broadcasters — NBC, FOX, CBS and ESPN — each hit multi-year lows in viewership during the regular season. Viewership declined for nine of the twelve playoff games, with each round of the playoffs hitting a multi-year low.

UPDATED 2/5: Final ratings/viewership added.

(Sunday’s numbers from CBS Press Express; final numbers from Media Life Magazine)

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