Nielsen Recount Declares This Year’s Super Bowl the ‘Most Watched’ in History

Ratings agency adds 2.1 million viewers to bring total number who saw Kansas City defeat Philadelphia to 115.1 million

Patrick Mahomes
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Fox Sports on Tuesday said that updated figures determined that 115.1 million people watched the Feb. 12 Super Bowl broadcast of the Kansas City Chiefs’ triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles across various traditional television, its Spanish language Fox Deportes and digital streaming services.

That Nielsen Media Research figure was up by 2.1 million from the 113 million viewers initially credited to the game, which featured a last-minute win for the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in one of the most exciting championship games in years.

The halftime performance by Rihanna likely helped boost viewership.

“This revision is the product of a thorough review by Nielsen that revealed irregularities in the encoding that enables Nielsen’s measurement of TV viewing, as well as issues with the out-of-home measurement of Super Bowl LVII,” Fox Sports said in a statement.

In its own statement provided to TheWrap, a Nielsen spokesperson added: “We strive to meet the highest standards for transparency and accuracy in audience measurement. The Super Bowl continues to be a unique media event in terms of its size and diversity in how audiences watch the game. We appreciate the support and collaboration from our partners at FOX and the NFL to correct previously unknown errors to ultimately provide a more accurate measure for this year’s total audience for the game.”

The additional viewers means that the game drew more eyeballs than the previous leader, 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX, which was aired by NBC and featured the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots defeating the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

The increase also meant a wider gap between the 2023 Super Bowl and the 112.3 million viewers who watched the 2022 championship game that saw the Los Angeles Rams defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.

Nielsen Media Research representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the revision.

This year’s Super Bowl takes the top of an all-time viewership list that is mostly populated with the big game over the years.

Of the 12 Super Bowls in the top 15, four were aired by NBC, five by Fox and and three by CBS.

In contrast to the huge viewership that the Super Bowl receives, most regular scheduling draws a vastly smaller audience. ABC said early Tuesday that the No. 1 program on all of U.S. televisions last week was “World News Tonight,” which had a total viewership of 7.8 million.

Cable has an even smaller audience. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the most-watched show on cable news, averaging about 3.4 million viewers, before the host was fired by Fox News last week. The timeslot for his show has since seen its ratings plunge.