So much for the idea that a lopsided score in the Super Bowl would depress TV ratings.
Despite early indications that Super Bowl XLVIII would suffer a dip in ratings, the game in fact set another all-time viewership record. Per FOX Sports, the Seattle Seahawks’ blowout victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday (Feb. 2) averaged 111.5 million viewers, the biggest audience ever for a U.S. TV broadcast.
Sunday’s telecast just beats the old record of 111.3 million set by Super Bowl XLVI on NBC two years ago. Three of the past four Super Bowls have set a new all-time record, with the 2013 game (which drew “only” 108.7 million people) being the outlier.
Viewership peaked late in the first half and during the Bruno Mars-Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show. FOX says Mars’ performance drew 115.3 million viewers, surpassing the 114 million who tuned in to Madonna’s performance in 2012.
The audience tailed off some in the second half as Seattle coasted to a 43-8 win, but the household rating for the game’s final segment was only slightly below the average for the entire contest.
The record ratings didn’t completely carry over to FOX’s post-Super Bowl airings of “New Girl” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but both shows did record their series highs by huge margins.