Were there ever any uncertainty about the dominance of the National Football League, the ratings from last night’s rout of a Super Bowl should curtail any doubts.
Despite the fact that the game was over by the first play of the second half, if not much sooner, with the Seattle Seahawks rolling easily to a 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX set a new record for ratings, averaging 111.5 million viewers.
The number marked the biggest audience ever for a U.S. broadcast, and eked out ahead of the ratings for Super Bowl XLVI two years ago on NBC, which netted 111.3 million viewers and held the previous record. That Super Bowl broke the record from the year previous year in 2011, so it’s become a fairly regular thing for the NFL to outdo itself, and ratings throughout the season were record-setting as well.
Peak viewership came towards the end of the first half and into the halftime show with a reported 115.3 million viewers tuning into the spectacle, one that featured Bruno Mars, shirtless members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a ‘Seinfeld’ reunion of sorts.
The musical interlude beat out Beyonce’s performance last year and Madonna’s then record-setting performance in 2012.
Preliminary reports foresaw a ratings dip, as Seattle staked an early lead and continued to build on it, but it seems viewers were undeterred.
Coming in a distant second against the Super Bowl was ‘Downton Abbey' on PBS, as it earned an impressive 6.6 million, a slight increase from last year’s showing. So while 'Downton Abbey' lost out in an expected (yet respectable) fashion, the Broncos second-place finish was lackluster and disappointing.