On February 14, just two days after we witnessed the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, Nielsen confirmed it was one of the most-watched Super Bowls of all-time. According to their average audience estimates, roughly 113.06 million viewers tuned in to catch the action live.
Of those 113.06 million viewers, roughly 112.2 million were watching the game on FOX and another 882,000 were watching the game on FOX Deportes – the Spanish broadcast. As for the Super Bowl halftime show, which featured Rihanna, an average of 118.7 million viewers tuned in to see her perform.
“Audience estimates for Super Bowl LVII are inclusive of digital (DTVR) and out-of-home (OOH) viewing, and viewing via the Fox Sports app, Fox Now and NFL+,” wrote Nielsen in their press release. Other reports indicated that viewership ranged from 98.8 million viewers to 124 million viewers during the game.
What Are the Most-Watched Super Bowls of All-Time?
The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched sporting events in the entire world.While it doesn’t come close to the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Cricket World Cup, Olympics, and other major sporting events, the Super Bowl draws more viewers than the World Series, NBA Finals, and Final Four combined.
It has come a long way since Super Bowl I, which drew nearly 24.5 million viewers in 1967 – according to Nielsen’s historical data. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, viewership increased to between 80 and 90 million viewers and finally reached that coveted 100 million mark in 2010, during Super Bowl XLIV (44).
Since 2010, viewership has only dipped below 100 million viewers twice – Super Bowl LV in 2021 and Super Bowl LIII in 2019 – those numbers are likely higher with the rise of streaming. While it’s tough to determine exact viewership, let’s take a look at some of the most-watched Super Bowls of all-time.
15. Super Bowl XLII – 97.45 million
Super Bowl XLII, which drew in an average of 97.45 million viewers, was played between the New York Giants and New England Patriots on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The game lasted 3 hours, 35 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 71,101 fans. The Giants won 17-14.
The Patriots held a 7-3 lead after three quarters, but a 5-yard TD pass by Eli Manning gave the Giants a 10-7 lead. With 2:42 left in the game, Tom Brady threw a TD pass to take a 14-10 lead, but Manning responded with his second TD pass of the day with just 35 seconds left – ending the Pats’ perfect season.
14. Super Bowl XLIII – 98.73 million
Super Bowl XLIII, which drew in an average of 98.73 million viewers, was played between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 38 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 70,774 screaming fans. The Steelers won 27-24.
The Steelers got off to a good start and had a 17-7 lead at halftime – thanks to an iconic 100-yard INT return by James Harrison. The Cardinals mounted a fourth quarter comeback, scoring 16 unanswered points to take a 23-20 lead, but Ben Roethlisberger threw a game-winning TD pass with 35 seconds left.
13. Super Bowl LIII – 98.95 million
Super Bowl LIII, which drew in an average of 98.95 million viewers, was played between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 32 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 70,081 screaming fans. The Pats won 13-3.
Known as one of the most boring Super Bowl games in recent history, the game was tied 3-3 at the start of the fourth quarter after both teams hit a field goal. A 2-yard rushing TD by Sony Michel with 7 minutes left in the game gave the Pats a 10-3 lead, while a 41-yard field goal secured the win with a minute left.
12. Super Bowl LVI – 101.09 million
Super Bowl LVI, which drew in an average of 101.09 million viewers, was played between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams on February 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 26 minutes and had an attendance of about 70,048 screaming fans. The Rams ended up winning 23-20.
It was a back-and-forth game for 4 quarters, which is all you can hope for out of a Super Bowl. Matthew Stafford had two TD passes in the first quarter, but the Rams found themselves down 20-16 late in the fourth quarter. Stafford threw his third TD pass with just over a minute left to give the Rams the win.
11. Super Bowl LIV – 102.09 million
Super Bowl LIV, which drew in an average of 102.09 million viewers, was played between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on February 2, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 29 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 62,417 screaming fans. The Chiefs won 31-20.
Patrick Mahomes gave the Chiefs an early 7-3 lead with a 1-yard rushing TD, but the 49ers bounced back and held a 20-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That’s when the Chiefs came alive and scored 3 TDs in the final 6 minutes – two of which were passing TDs from Mahomes – for the comeback win.
10. Super Bowl LII – 104.02 million
Super Bowl LII, which drew in an average of 104.02 million viewers, was played between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots on February 4, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 46 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 67,612 screaming fans. The Eagles won 41-33.
The Eagles held a respectable 22-12 lead at halftime thanks to two passing TDs from Nick Foles – who was filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. The Patriots were down 3 points at the start of the 4th quarter and took a 33-32 lead with 9 minutes left, but the Eagles scored 10 unanswered in the final 2 minutes.
9. Super Bowl XLIV – 106.48 million
Super Bowl XLIV, which drew in an average of 106.48 million viewers, was played between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts on February 7, 2010 at Land Shark Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 14 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 74,059 fans. The Saints won 31-17.
The Colts got off to an early start and had a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Saints hit two field goals in the second quarter, bringing their deficit to 10-6, and took control in the second half – outscoring the Colts 25-7 in the final two quarters. Drew Brees had two TD passes in that second half.
8. Super Bowl XLVII – 108.69 million
Super Bowl XLVII, which drew in an average of 108.69 million viewers, was played between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game lasted about 4 hours, 14 minutes and had an attendance of 71,024 fans. The Ravens won 34-31.
This game had a little bit of everything – including a power outage. The Ravens came out hot and had a 21-6 lead at halftime, which they expanded on with a 108-yard kickoff return TD to start the second half. The 49ers never had a lead, but they outscored the Ravens 25-6 in the second half – it wasn’t enough.
7. Super Bowl XLV – 111.04 million
Super Bowl XLV, which drew in an average of 111.04 million viewers, was played between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium. The game lasted roughly 3 hours, 32 minutes and had an attendance of about 103,219 screaming fans. The Packers won 31-25.
This remains the only Super Bowl win for Aaron Rodgers. His team took an early 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and had a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter. The Steelers scored two unanswered TDs to make it 21-17 at the end of the third quarter, but the Packers kept it pushing in the fourth quarter.
6. Super Bowl XLVI – 111.35 million
Super Bowl XLVI, which drew in an average of 111.35 million viewers, was played between the New York Giants and New England Patriots on February 5, 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game lasted roughly 3 hours, 23 minutes and had an attendance of about 68,658 screaming fans. The Giants won 21-17.
Tom Brady was looking for revenge after the Giants ended their perfect season in 2008. The Giants had a 9-0 lead at the end of the first, but the Patriots responded with 17 unanswered points. The Giants then scored 12 unanswered points to secure the comeback, including a game-winning TD with 57 seconds left.
5. Super Bowl LI – 111.97 million
Super Bowl LI, which drew in an average of 111.97 million viewers, was played between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons on February 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium. The game lasted roughly 3 hours, 47 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 70,807 screaming fans. The Patriots ended up winning 34-28.
Everyone watching the game thought it was over at halftime as the Falcons took a 21-3 lead. They extended that lead to 28-3 with 8:31 left in the third quarter. The Patriots didn’t give up, though. In fact, they put together one of the most impressive comebacks, scoring 31 unanswered points to win the game.
4. Super Bowl 50 – 112.34 million
Super Bowl 50, which drew in an average of 112.34 million viewers, was played between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos on February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium. The game lasted approximately 3 hours, 43 minutes and had an attendance of about 71,088 screaming fans. The Broncos won 24-10.
The game is largely famous for Cam Newton’s blunder when he fumbled the ball and didn’t appear to try and recover it – despite having a clear opportunity at it. Still, the Panthers kept it close throughout and were down by 6 points with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. A rushing TD by Denver secured the win.
3. Super Bowl XLVIII – 112.75 million
Super Bowl XLVIII, which drew in an average of 112.75 million viewers, was played between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks on February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium. The game lasted approximately 3 hours, 23 minutes and had an attendance of roughly 82,529 screaming fans. The Seahawks won 43-8.
The Broncos never stood a chance against Russell Wilson and his Seahawks. They scored the first 36 points of the game before Peyton Manning finally threw a TD pass as time expired in the third quarter. Wilson had two passing TDs, Percy Harvin had a kickoff return TD, and Malcolm Smith had an INT TD.
2. Super Bowl LVII – 113.06 million
Super Bowl LVII, which drew in an average of 113.06 million viewers, was played between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 31 minutes and had an attendance of about 67,827 screaming fans. The Chiefs won 38-35.
The Eagles came out strong and held a 24-14 lead at halftime and a 27-21 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Chiefs took a 35-27 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles tied it up with just 5 minutes remaining. The Chiefs drove the field and hit a game-winning field goal with just 8 seconds left.
1. Super Bowl XLIX – 114.81 million
Super Bowl XLIX, which drew in an average of 114.81 million viewers, was played between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots on February 1, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The game lasted about 3 hours, 36 minutes and had an attendance of 70,288 fans. The Patriots won 28-24.
No points were scored in the first quarter, but both teams scored two TDs in the second quarter – it was tied 14-14 at halftime. The Seahawks took a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter, but Tom Brady threw a TD pass with 8 minutes left and another with 2 minutes left. The Seahawks had a chance to win, but chose to pass the ball instead of running it – ending the game when Wilson threw an interception.
Which of the Most-Watched Super Bowls Were Your Favorite?
There’s nothing quite like the Super Bowl, especially after a long, 17-game regular season and three rounds of playoffs – the Wild Card round, Divisional round, and Conference Championship round. What began as a field of 32 teams is eventually dwindled down to just two teams – but only one can win.
With that said, everyone has their favorite Super Bowl and we all have different reasons for watching. Some of us simply enjoy watching two of the best teams in the league going head-to-head, while others are in it for the halftime show – of course, the Super Bowl commercials also take precedence sometimes.
Personally, my favorite Super Bowl – keep in mind, I was born in 1994 – was Super Bowl was Super Bowl XLII in 2008 between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. Growing up a die-hard Buffalo Bills’ fan, I enjoyed watching Eli Manning spoil Tom Brady’s perfect season. Which one was your favorite?
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