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Super Bowl LVIII makes history as most-watched American telecast ever

Patrick Mahomes Superbowl
Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
February 12, 2024
Source: AXIOS
Written by: Sara Fischer

CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday was the most-watched television event in U.S. history, according to preliminary Nielsen figures — with 123.4 million viewers across CBS, Univision and streaming platforms.

Why it matters: A nail-biter ending in overtime, combined with celebrity sightings and a history-making consecutive win by the Kansas City Chiefs, drove the NFL to make television history at a time when few events are still able to pull large swaths of Americans together.

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals (Editor’s note: This chart has been corrected to say the Super Bowl was played between the Chiefs and 49ers in 2020, not the Chiefs and Buccaneers.)

Details: Overall, the matchup between the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers averaged 123.4 million viewers across all platforms — up more than 7% compared to last year’s game, which held the previous record at 115.1 million viewers, CBS Sports said.

Between the lines: The game caps off a record season for NFL viewership driven by a slew of competitive games and popular off-the-field storylines, like Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s relationship with Taylor Swift.

The big picture: The Super Bowl is one of the few remaining events that can bring millions of people together at the same time.

Be smart: The game is not only one of the most culturally relevant moments of each year, but it’s also one of the most lucrative opportunities for advertisers, celebrities and politicians to market themselves.

What to watch: Final Nielsen figures are expected to be released Tuesday. They should show a slight uptick in viewership compared to the preliminary numbers.

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