111m: Super Bowl sets US TV record

They are the kind of numbers that make your eyes water….

Super Bowl XLV has set a new television audience record in the US.

A staggering 111 million viewers tuned in to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.

Those figures shattered the previous TV record audience of a 106.5 million which was set by the 2010 Super Bowl.

However its 47.9 rating equalled the mark of Super Bowl XXI.

Of the 111 million viewers that watched the game, 26.8 million stayed to catch a special episode of Glee, which is actually a significant drop of viewers, possibly because its appeal targets a different audience. The episode airs in Australia next week.

Last year’s Undercover Boss premiered to almost 40 million, but this year the game also ran longer.

The record books for US TV audience series finales has MASH at 105m, Cheers on 84m, Seinfeld at 76m, and Friends at 52m.

Source: LA Times



  1. Reportedly, 160m people watched some portion of the game.

    Not a big surprise. Its been a very competitive season. The NFL has been killing it all season. Head to head, regular season NFL games managed to beat the MLB World Series.

    btw/ NFL TV rights is $4bn a year.

  2. Apparently there was a boycott going on with Glee. People deliberately switched off or changed the channel. There was talk of it in the comments sections on many tv sites in America. But you know what Glee isn’t everyones cup of tea either. IMO FOX missed the boat here with the Superbowl. They should have done what CBS did with Undercover Boss last year and premiere a NEW show behind the Superbowl. Chicago Code would have been perfect. The only reason i can come up with is FOX thinks its new shows are crap and didn’t want to waste that.

    26.8m for Glee is still huge! Plus the Superbowl went late this year too. You have to put it all in perspective. Last year UB started at 10:15pm, Glee started at 10:40pm but regardless its still a huge 15m more than it regularly gets. So the fact it more than doubled its audience is something at least. Will be interesting to see how it fares on Tuesday in America with the 2nd new ep in a week.

  3. @Aznfratboy – I take you point but I still think it’s a good result for glee considering it’s demographic and how 100 million people could have turned off but only 90 million did. Considering that Ncis just rated 22 million and got a lot of press about how good that is for a network scripted drama, i think a jump from 11 million to 26 million shouldn’t be underestimated, no matter it’s lead in show, but that said I take your point on board.

  4. @ Scooter when your lead-in is 111million viewers, you’d better at least double your normal episode viewership, regardless of how crappy your show is, so 10 million viewers isn’t exactly a huge increase. Look at it this way, this episode of Glee could only keep 1 in 5 Superbowl viewers, not alot considering some other shows of recent history.

    @ D – The American viewership only counts households, obviously they have measures as to how to adjust the amount of households that watch an episode of The Office and the amount of households/viewers that watch Superbowl. Also, because viewership only counts households, those who watch it at a bar, on their phone, on the internet, whatever, those viewers don’t count at all.

  5. The figures are amazing but it is winter in America and they do like to stay home and watch TV a hell of a lot more than we do. The blizzards have been huge this year, why would you go out !
    It doesn’t look like there is much interest here as ONE didn’t get much of a helping hand from this major sport event. What were it’s fiigures, just had a quick look and couldn’t see them ?

  6. methinks, I think the ratings undercount the number of people watching the NRL and AFL grand finals. For these events, I think many people would host BBQ-style parties and watch the game in groups, or go to a pub. That’s not something that really gets done for the Tennis final.

  7. Thanks David. Didn’t spot it my first quick read through that article.


    That would be 4,043,000 out of about 13 million in the 5 metro markets. So almost 1 in 3.

  8. @methinks.
    4 million in 05′ is metro markets only. Regionals would add to this figure.
    Metro totals around 14 mill so 4 million is 1 in 3 and a half ppl.

  9. In regard to those figures for Glee, even with that drop off from the superbowl figures, it is still a significant increase in ratings considering the previous ep of Glee (the Christmas ep) rated around 11 million, so that an increase of 10 million viewers!

  10. To put those numbers in perspective, with a population of about 307 million, 1 in (about) 3 people watched the super bowl.

    Our most watched program was in 2005, at at the point we had a population of 20.4 million, and with 4 million people watching the tennis final, that puts it at 1 in 5 people watching it

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