Super Bowl Sets TV Record: 111.3M Viewers

The New York Giants’ 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in last night’s Super Bowl was seen by an average of 111.3 million people, the biggest audience in U.S. television history, according Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC network.

The viewership total for the game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis narrowly topped last year’s record of 111 million for the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, NBC said in a news release.

The game was seen in an average of 47 percent of U.S. homes, the best rating since 1986 when the Chicago Bears’ win over the Patriots drew a 48.3 rating. Yesterday’s 47 rating is the sixth highest in Super Bowl history.

This was the seventh straight year of Super Bowl-record viewership. It peaked at 117.7 million during its final half- hour, as the Giants’ Eli Manning directed a late-game touchdown drive that gave New York the lead, and a desperation game-ending throw to the end zone by New England’s Tom Brady fell incomplete. It was the Giants’ fourth Super Bowl title and second in five years.

An average of 114 million viewers watched the halftime show that featured Madonna, the most for a championship halftime show that featured entertainment, which dates back to 1991. More than four million fewer people watched the Black Eyed Peas at halftime a year ago.

The Giants’ Super Bowl victory in many ways mirrored their upset 17-14 win over New England in the 2008 title game, as Manning led late-game touchdown drives in both contests. Yesterday’s game had a 14 percent higher rating.

The average 30-second commercial during last night’s game sold for $3.5 million, according to NBC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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