Updated Super Bowl Ratings: This Year's Game Is Most-Watched Show in U.S. TV History

Michael Schneider
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl

UPDATED WITH NATIONAL RATINGS, 4:45 p.m. ET: It was another Super Bowl for the history books. Sunday night's intense, last-minute Super Bowl victory by the New England Patriots paid off for NBC, averaging 114.4 million viewers -- the most-watched television program in U.S. television history. It was also the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 seasons, according to Nielsen.

The telecast, which aired from 6:31 p.m. to 10:10 p.m. ET, surpassed last year's Super Bowl XLVIII by 2.2 million viewers. That broadcast, airing on Fox, averaged 112.2 million viewers, and was previously the most-watched U.S. TV telecast of all time. Behind that the now third-most watched was Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 (111.3 million).

"Last night's Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl ranks among the most exciting sporting events in U.S. history," says NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus.

Meanwhile, The Blacklist episode airing immediately after the game averaged 26.5 million viewers and an 8.7 rating with adults 18-49, according to preliminary Nielsen nations. It was the highest-scoring primetime entertainment telecast on the broadcast networks since last March's Academy Awards, and the most-watched scripted telecasr on NBC since ER averaged 28.3 million viewers on May 6, 2004 (the night of the Friends finale).

In total viewers, The Blacklist was a touch biggert than last year's Super Bowl lead-out, New Girl, which averaged 26.3 million viewers. But it didn't come close to New Girl's 11.4 rating among adults 18-49 -- but to be fair, New Girl was only a half-hour, and the post-Super Bowl telecast usually drops heavily in the second half hour.

The last hour-long drama that aired after the game, Elementary (2013), delivered 20.8 million viewers and a 7.8 rating with adults 18-49. (Elementary was impacted by its late start, not airing until 11:11 p.m., the latest start for any post-Super Bowl program ever.)

Also last night, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon averaged 9.8 million viewers and a 3.6 rating with adults 18-49, the show's second-best ratings (only behind last February's series premiere during the Winter Olympics). That's the most-watched post-Super Bowl late-night talk show since at least 1987.

PREVIOUSLY: Sunday night's intense, last-minute Super Bowl victory by the New England Patriots paid off for NBC in the ratings. Early results are in, and in Nielsen's 56 metered markets, Super Bowl XLIX averaged a 49.7 household rating and 72 share.

The Patriots' 28-24 nail-biter win over the Seattle Seahawks was up 4% from last year's 47.6/70 (when the Seahawks easily beat the Denver Broncos) and even beat the 2013 contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers by 3% (48.1/71).

The Ravens-49ers game previously was the top-rated on record in the metered market ratings, which means this year's game now claims tthe highest overnight rating in Super Bowl history.

Super Bowl XLIX peaked between 10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. with a 52.9 rating and 73 share in metered markets. The halftime performance by Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot (8-8:30 p.m. ET) delivered a 50.8/73 overnight, up 5% from last year's halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (48.6/71).

Among local markets, the Patriots' hometown Boston posted itss best-ever for a Super Bowl overnight rating (61.0/85), topping the previous high (56.7/81 for the N.Y. Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. On the flip side, this year's Super Bowl averaged a 52.1 rating in Seattle, down from last year's Seahawks win (56.7).

Fast national ratings from Nielsen will be released later today. There's a possibility that this year's telecast may surpass last year's Super Bowl XLVIII as the most-watched program in television history. That broadcast, airing on Fox, averaged 112.2 million viewers. The second-most watched was Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 (111.3 million).

According to NBC Sports, its live stream of Super Bowl XLIX peaked in the last seconds of the game, when the Patriots' Malcolm Butler intercepted the Seahawks' pass, clinching the game for New England. That moment attracted 1.3 million concurrent users, which NBC said it believed to be the highest ever for a Super Bowl.

In social media, Twitter says over 28.4 million Tweets related to the game and halftime show were sent during the live telecast, making it the most Tweeted Super Bowl ever – up from 24.9 million last year.

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NBC is also waiting on national numbers for The Blacklist, which aired after the big game. Last year's Super Bowl lead-out, New Girl, averaged 26.3 million viewers and a 11.4 rating among adults 18-49.

The last hour-long drama that aired after the game, Elementary (2013), delivered 20.8 million viewers and a 7.8 rating with adults 18-49. (Elementary was impacted by its late start, not airing until 11:11 p.m., the latest start for any post-Super Bowl program ever.)

In metered market households, The Blacklist averaged a 13.5 rating and 24 share, the top-rated post-Super Bowl entertainment telecast since 2012 (The Voice, which averaged a 20.0/30). Last year's New Girl averaged 12.4/21.

In late night, the post-Super Bowl edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earned a 6.2 rating and 16 share in metered-market households from 12:15-1:15 a.m., making this the No. 2 rated edition of Fallon's Tonight tenure ever in metered-market households, behind only the show's debut on Feb. 17, 2014 (7.1). According to NBC, it's also the highest-rated late-night show airing after the Super Bowl Sunday since 1998, when The Tonight Show with Jay Leno averaged a 7.3.

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