HOLLYWOOD – Following three consecutive years of setting the record for the most-watched program in U.S. television history, average viewership of CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII dropped slightly from the past two years to 108.41 million, according to time-zone-adjusted fast national ratings released today by Nielsen.
The Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday was the third most-watched program in U.S. television history, behind Super Bowl XLVI, which aired last year on NBC and averaged 111.3 million viewers, and Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl XLV in 2011, which averaged 111 million.
The average does not include the 34-minute interruption to play caused by a power outage in the Superdome.
Viewership peaked at 113.92 million in the final 17 minutes of the telecast.
The game averaged a 46.3 rating, down from the 47 rating for last year’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. However, it was the second highest-rated Super Bowl since Super Bowl XX in 1986 between the Chicago Bears and Patriots on NBC.
The record Super Bowl rating is 49.1 for Super Bowl XVI in 1982 between the Cincinnati Bengals and the 49ers on CBS, in an era when there were only three major broadcast networks and far less competition for viewers from cable television.
The rating is the percentage of television sets tuned to a particular program. Ratings for nearly all annual programs are smaller today than in the past.
The episode of the crime drama “Elementary” the followed the Super Bowl telecast averaged 20.8 million viewers, 44.7 percent less than the 37.6 million average for the second season premiere of the singing competition “The Voice” that followed last year’s Super Bowl.
“Elementary” did not begin until 11:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the latest start for a post-Super Bowl show.
“Elementary” had the highest rating for an entertainment program this year among viewers ages 18-49, the group most sought by advertisers because they watch less television and are harder to reach.
Final ratings figures are scheduled to be released Tuesday, but they are not expected to change significantly.