The Most Watched Show in U.S. Television History

Phoenix, AZ

114.4 million watched Patriots-Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on NBC, which topped last year’s Super Bowl by 2.2 million. The 47.5 household rating is best in 30 seasons, since Super Bowl XX in January 1986. NBC Sports Live Extra set the Super Bowl record averaging 800,000 viewers per minute. Post-Super Bowl episodes of The Blacklist and Tonight Show also posted big numbers.

Super Bowl XLIX on NBC, featuring the New England Patriots’ history-making comeback from 10 points behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24, is the most-watched television program in U.S. history and the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 seasons, according to fast national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

The game was seen by a record 114.4 million viewers (6:31-10:10 p.m. ET), topping by 2.2 million viewers last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX and is the biggest audience to watch a television program in U.S. history.

"Last night’s Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl ranks among the most exciting sporting events in U.S. history," said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. "Super Bowl XLIX delivered for all of our partners, proving once again that the Super Bowl is the most dominant and consistent property on television."


  1. 114.4 Million – Super Bowl XLIX, NBC (Last Night’s Game)

  2. 112.2 Million – Super Bowl XLVIII, FOX (Feb. 2014)

  3. 111.3 Million – Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Feb. 2012)

  4. 111.0 Million – Super Bowl XLV, FOX (Feb. 2011)

  5. 108.7 Million – Super Bowl XLVII, CBS (Feb. 2013)

  6. 106.5 Million – Super Bowl XLIV, CBS (Feb. 2010)

  7. 106.0 Million – M.A.S.H. Finale, CBS (Feb. 1983)

  8. 98.7 Million – Super Bowl XLIII, NBC (Feb. 2009)

*for Super Bowls, includes only full game telecasts

HIGHEST-RATED SUPER BOWL IN 30 SEASONS: The game earned a 47.5 rating and a 71 share, a gain of two percent from last year’s 46.7/69 for Super Bowl XLVIII and is the highest-rated Super Bowl since 1986 (Bears-Patriots, Super Bowl XX, 48.3/70). The 47.5 rating is the 4th highest in Super Bowl history and ranks as 9th highest rated program in television history.


  1. 49.1/73 – Super Bowl XVI, CBS (Jan. 1982)

  2. 48.6/69 – Super Bowl XVII, NBC (Jan. 1983)

  3. 48.3/70 – Super Bowl XX, NBC (Jan. 1986)

  4. 47.5/71 – Super Bowl XLIX, NBC (Last Night’s Game)

  5. 47.2/67 – Super Bowl XII, CBS (Jan. 1978)

  6. 47.1/74 – Super Bowl XIII, NBC (Jan. 1979)

  7. 47.0/71 – Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Feb. 2012)

  8. 46.7/69 – Super Bowl XLVIII, FOX (Feb. 2014)


VIEWERSHIP PEAKS DURING PATRIOTS’ GAME-WINNING DRIVE: The viewership peaked at 120.8 million viewers from 9:45-10 p.m. ET during the fourth quarter, when Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns.


FINAL HALF HOUR OF PRE-GAME SHOW MOST-WATCHED ON RECORD: From 6-6:30 p.m. ET, the Super Bowl XLIX Pre-Game show averaged 72.7 million viewers, ranking as the most watched pre-kickoff segment on record (since the advent of the People Meter in 1988), and a six percent increase from the similar time period last year (68.6 million). The Super Bowl XLIX Post-Game Show (10:10-10:38) averaged 72.5 million viewers – up 10% from last year’s 65.8 million viewers for Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA SETS SUPER BOWL RECORD: NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of Super Bowl XLIX to desktops and tablets delivered record traffic and a high-quality experience for consumers. The live stream of the game set Super Bowl records for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million), according to Adobe Analytics.

In addition to the record traffic, NBC Sports Live Extra delivered a high-quality stream with a long engagement of 84.2 minute per viewer. According to Akamai, the live stream was the highest quality throughput for any Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl stream on the NBC Sports Live Extra platform went fantastically well," said Rick Cordella, SVP and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. "We were excited, not only by the record-breaking consumption, but also the quality of the streams we delivered to football fans."

The 800,000 average viewers per minute was up 52% when compared to FOX’s stream of Super Bowl XLVIII last year, which was believed to be the previous record and averaged 528,000 viewers per minute. Concurrent users peaked at 1.3 million at the moment when Patriots CB Malcolm Butler made his game-winning interception in the final seconds, and is up 18% vs. FOX last year (1.1 million).

Viewers of the live stream consumed 213 million minutes, besting by 86% the previous Super Bowl record set by CBS for Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 (114.4 million minutes). The live stream also produced 2.5 million uniques, up 9% vs. FOX last year and up 19% compared to NBC’s live stream in 2012 (2.1 million), which was the first-ever live stream of a Super Bowl.

NOTE: NBC Sports Digital does not have NFL mobile streaming rights. It streams its NFL content through NBC Sports Live Extra to desktops and tablets only.

HALFTIME SHOW FEATURING KATY PERRY IS MOST-WATCHED & HIGHEST RATED EVER: The halftime performance by Katy Perry during the 8-8:30 p.m. ET half hour, was seen by 118.5 million viewers, 3 million+ viewers more than last year’s halftime featuring Bruno Mars (115.3 million), and is the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show featuring entertainment ever (dating back to 1991).The halftime show earned a 48.2/72 household rating, two percent higher than last year (47.2/70) and is the highest-rated halftime show featuring entertainment ever.


THE BLACKLIST AND TONIGHT SHOW DELIVER DOMINANT NUMBERS: NBC’s post-Super Bowl telecast of "The Blacklist" set series records of 26.5 million viewers overall and an 8.7 rating in adults 18-49, making it the highest-scoring primetime entertainment telecast on the Big 4 networks in both measures since the Academy Awards last March.  It was also NBC’s most-watched scripted program in more than 10 years, since "ER" averaged 28.3 million viewers on May 6, 2004, the night of the "Friends" finale.

Last night’s special post-Super Bowl edition of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" delivered 9.8 million viewers overall and a 3.6 rating in adults 18-49, the show’s second-best results to date behind only last February’s series premiere following an Olympics telecast. The 9.8 million viewers makes it the most-watched post-Super Bowl late-night talk show in the history of People Meters (dating back to September 1987). Note that these preliminary "Blacklist" and "Tonight" ratings are subject to slight change with official nationals to adjust for late starts in the Boston market due to local post-game coverage.

In preliminary results for the night, NBC averaged 104.0 million viewers in primetime (7-11 p.m.) and a 35.8 rating in adults 18-49, making it NBC’s most-watched night in the history of People Meters.

NBC UNIVERSO DEBUTS & TELEVISES ITS FIRST SUPER BOWL: The newly relaunched NBC UNIVERSO (formerly mun2), which debuted yesterday, peaked at 457,000 viewers (with 368,000 average viewers throughout the telecast) for its exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl XLIX. This marks its most-viewed program outside of soccer in the channel’s history.

BOSTON & HOST MARKET PHOENIX SET LOCAL MARKET RECORDS: The rating in Boston was the best ever for a Super Bowl in the market (61.0/85), topping the previous high of 56.7/81 for the N.Y. Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI on NBC. The host market of Phoenix registered a 55.6/82 rating, the highest for a Super Bowl in the market, topping the prior Phoenix mark of 51.1 for Packers-Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in Feb. 2011.