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New Record 111.5 Million Fans Watched Super Bowl XLVIII

superbowl-2014-logoThe NFL is king, and it has the numbers to prove it.

For the fourth time in five years, despite a Seattle Seahawks blowout of the Denver Broncos, the Super Bowl has set a record for the most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing 111.5 million viewers.

”We were a little surprised, absolutely,” said Bill Wanger, executive vice president for programming and research at Fox Sports. The blowout had some at Fox worried that enough people would tune out in the fourth quarter to ruin any chance at a ratings record. So when Percy Harvin ran the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown to give the Seahawks a 29-0 lead, ”let’s just say we weren’t popping champagne bottles,” he said.

The ratings record is further evidence of how live events are becoming dependable and valuable properties for broadcast television at a time the audience is fragmenting and ratings for regular entertainment shows continue to fall.

”Big-event television is a great way for people to have a communal event, to talk about it socially and to talk about it as a group,” Wanger said. ”You see that in the Super Bowl numbers of the past four or five years. They’ve just gone up to a different level.”

The game also set standards for the most-streamed sports event online and, with 24.9 million tweets, the biggest U.S. live TV event on Twitter.

The Seattle victory eclipsed the 111.3 million viewers who watched the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants  and New England Patriots, according to the Nielsen Company. Until last year’s game dipped slightly to 108.7 million, the Super Bowl had set ratings records for the previous three years in a row.

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