Super Bowl 50 Ratings Just Behind Last Year’s All Time-Best… So Far

Early ratings project a massive success for CBS, but not as big as the game had last year

Super Bowl 50 logo with teams

The Super Bowl may not get to celebrate its 50th anniversary with its all-time best ratings, according to early numbers — Sunday’s game was down slightly from last year’s record holder in the initial tally.

Nielsen overnight data placed the slow-paced Super Bowl 50 at a 49.0 rating/73 share — down 1.4 percent from last year’s rating. Those are preliminary numbers that measure households, and more precise numbers will be in later today. So the situation could change.

But it was clearly a record-breaking night for Stephen Colbert. After the Super Bowl confetti fell, CBS aired a live “Late Show” from 11 p.m. ET until midnight. Colbert’s big moment averaged an 11.2/21, the all-time high for Colbert.

From 12:30 a.m.-1:45 a.m., “The Late Late Show With James Corden” averaged a 3.5/10 — the highest-ever initial rating for “The Late Late Show” since it started in 1995.

But back to the pigskin. Last year’s Super Bowl gave NBC a 49.7 rating/72 share in overnight numbers. Super Bowl XLIX eventually grabbed 114.4 million total viewers.

The 2015 New England Patriots victory had a few advantages over this year’s game, including teams from more major markets and a nail-biter of a game.

Also, this year’s game could be streamed, which may have taken away from TV viewers. Streaming viewers aren’t counted among Nielsen’s linear stats.


The AFC Champion Broncos defeated the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers on Sunday, 24-10. Denver defensive stud Von Miller won the MVP honors, and Peyton Manning was happy to share the postgame podium with his teammate.

After the final football game of the 2015-2016 NFL season concluded, Manning punted on the question of retirement. He now has two Super Bowl rings, just like his younger brother Eli Manning, who quarterbacks the New York Giants.