An exciting and highly questioned finish that saw the New England Patriots dethrone the Seattle Seahawks with an interception in the end zone with 20 seconds remaining helped NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XLIX become the most-watched show in U.S. TV history.
NBC's presentation of the Patriots’ history-making comeback from 10 points behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Seahawks 28-24 averaged 114.4 million watchers, according to Nielsen fast national data. The Peacock's delivery of Super Bowl XLIX knocked Fox's coverage of last year's NFL Championship, which drew 112.3 million watchers on a live+same day basis, from the record books (see chart below).
Sunday's matchup averaged a 47.5 rating and 72 share. That was 2% greater than the 46.7/69 for Fox's coverage last year of Super Bowl XLVIII. The delivery made New England-Seattle, the highest-rated Super Bowl in 30 seasons, since 1986, when the Chicago Bears-Patriots earned a 48.3/70 on NBC with Super Bowl XX, and the ninth-highest-rated program in U.S. history (see chart below).
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.
“Last night’s Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl ranks among the most exciting sporting events in U.S. history,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus. “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.”
Outpacing the game itself, the halftime show, led by Katy Perry, drew 118.5 million watchers during the 8 p.m. half hour, to become the most-watched such entertainment event in Super Bowl history. The performances by Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott outscored the 115.3 million who saw Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on last year's game. 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 fare.
NBC’s post-Super Bowl telecast of James Spader seried The Blacklist also set series records, registering 26.5 million viewers overall and an 8.7 rating against adults 18 to 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 a decade, since ER averaged 28.3 million viewers on May 6, 2004, the night of the Friends finale.
Last night’s special edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon delivered 9.8 million viewers overall and a 3.6 rating in adults 18 to 49, the show’s second-best results to date behind only last February’s series premiere after a Sochi 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, according to offiials at the Peacock network.
MOST-WATCHED PROGRAMS IN U.S. TELEVISION HISTORY*
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)
HIGEST-RATED SUPER BOWLS:
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 (Feb. 1, 2015)
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)
T9. 46.4/71 – Super Bowl XVIII, CBS (Jan. 1984)
T9. 46.4/63 – Super Bowl XIX, ABC (Jan. 1985)
T9. 46.4/69 – Super Bowl XLVII, CBS (Feb. 2013)