Super Bowl 50 Ratings: CBS Draws Third Largest Audience on Record

CBS’ telecast of the Golden Super Bowl from the Golden State on Sunday has fallen short of last year’s record audience for the big game, but has become the third most-watched program in U.S. television history.

Nielsen estimates that an average audience of 111.9 million were watching throughout the Denver Broncos’ 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, peaking with 115.5 million from 8:30-9 p.m. ET for the halftime show. The only telecasts to draw a larger audience were last year’s Super Bowl between New England and Seattle on NBC (114.4 million) and the 2014 matchup between Seattle and Denver on Fox (112.2 million).

The game was also broadcast nationally by ESPN Deportes, though viewership numbers weren’t available. According to CBS, streaming coverage of the game on CBS and NFL properties averaged 1.4 million viewers, and viewers consumed more than 315 million minutes of coverage across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones.

CBS Interactive sold live stream ads together with broadcast for incremental value. National ads ran in the same spots on the broadcast and live stream for the first time this year.

In terms of total reach, Sunday’s game drew 167 million people who watched at least six minutes — a television record. CBS had also previously held this record when 164.1 million watched its coverage of the 2013 Super Bowl between Baltimore and San Francisco.

Following the Super Bowl post-game show, a special live edition of “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” averaged 21.1 million viewers, about three times the show’s prior largest audience (6.55 million), set with its premiere last September, and the largest ever for the “Late Show” franchise. This viewership total is in line with what “Elementary” drew three years ago on CBS (20.8 million) but below most other recent hourlong post-Super Bowl programs including last year’s “The Blacklist” on NBC (25.7 million).

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In adults 18-49, “Late Show” generated a 7.9 rating, a little below last year’s “Blacklist” (8.4) and in line with “Elementary” (7.8) as the lowest-rated post-Super Bowl program of at least the past 20 years. Among all “Late Show” telecasts over the years, though, the 7.9 is second only to the premiere of the program with David Letterman as host in 1993.

And following late local newscasts, a special edition of “Late Late Show with James Corden” averaged a series-high 4.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in 18-49. This is even in the demo and up in total viewers (from 4.26 million) from a telecast of “Late Late Show” three years ago on Super Bowl night (with Craig Ferguson hosting).

In social media, roughly 60 million people worldwide joined the Super Bowl conversation on Facebook, and the 200 million posts, comments and likes for this year’s game is the second highest for any Super Bowl measured by Facebook, behind only last year. The three most popular players were Peyton Manning (10 million people, 19 million interactions), Cam Newton (5 million people, 8 million interactions) and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller (1.8 million people, 2.7 million interactions).

According to global marketing technology company Amobee Intelligence, there were 13.65 million tweets directly mentioning the Super Bowl between 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and 6:30 a.m. ET on Monday. While they didn’t officially advertise during the broadcast, Esurance was by far the brand with the most real-time success around the game, generating 1.85 million tweets during the 12-hour period starting with the game.

2015 — New England-Seattle (NBC) ……………….. 114.4 million
2014 — Seattle-Denver (Fox) ………………………….. 112.2 million
2016 — Denver-Carolina (CBS) ………………………. 111.9 million
2012 — NY Giants-New England (NBC) …………… 111.3 million
2011 — Green Bay-Pittsburgh (Fox) ………………… 111.0 million

Source: Nielsen

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