Record-Breaking Super Bowl Falls Short in TV Ratings

  • Audience of 111.3 million misses 2016 total and 2015 record
  • Atlanta’s big first half lead could have discouraged viewers

The Super Bowl set plenty of new milestones this year, with the greatest comeback in history, but TV ratings fell short of the record.

The Sunday night football championship, in which the New England Patriots stormed from behind to topple the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, attracted a TV audience of 111.3 million viewers, shy of last year’s total and the record 114.4 million who tuned in in 2015, according to Nielsen data released by Fox Sports.

This year’s game looked like a blowout, with the Falcons leading 28-9 headed into the fourth quarter, which may have led some viewers to change the channel too early. The game opened with a 43.5 rating at kickoff and peaked at 52.1 when the game went into overtime after 10 p.m. New York time, said Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc.

Fox said the game drew 113.7 million viewers across all of its platforms.

The Super Bowl draws TV’s biggest live audience of the year, and advertisers paid $5 million or more this year for 30 seconds of commercial time.

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