Super Bowl LVIII broke US records with historic TV ratings!
Las Vegas, Nevada - Super Bowl LVIII was a rip-roaring success, and the numbers prove it: the NFL's showpiece event was the most watched TV event of all time in the US!
The telecast of the Kansas City Chiefs' stunning 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers had an average audience of 123.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
The game from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas – which aired across CBS, Nickelodeon, and Univision, while streaming over Paramount+ and NFL+ – topped the previous record set by last year's game, when the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-31. That game was watched by 115.1 million viewers on Fox and other platforms.
Most of the viewing was on CBS, which averaged 120 million viewers – the largest audience ever for a single network. Detailed numbers for viewing on other platforms will be released later, but CBS said the game was the most streamed event ever on Paramount+.
Expectations for this year's ratings were high. The presence of Taylor Swift, on hand to cheer on boyfriend and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, elevated the game's stature as the center of the pop culture universe.
The celebrity romance story line even entered the political realm as right-wing zealots spread lies about the game being rigged to boost the vaccine-promoting Kelce and Swift, who has expressed support for US President Joe Biden in the past.
The 49ers – based in the liberal bastion of San Francisco – strangely gained a following among the MAGA crowd as a result.
Advertisers splash the cash at Super Bowl
Underscoring the enduring value of America's biggest sporting event, advertisers paid CBS an average of $7 million for a 30-second spot on the telecast, on par with last year's price.
Most of the commercials were laden with big-name celebrities, such as the State Farm Insurance spot with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. The ad ranked first in the annual Ad Meter panel of viewers assembled by USA Today, followed by the Dunkin' Donuts spot with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez, and Tom Brady.
While none of the spots were the kind of creative boundary pushing productions seen on past games – think Apple's revolutionary 1984 spot introducing the Macintosh computer – brands clearly experience a halo effect from including big show-business names.
After Beyoncé appeared in a spot for Verizon internet service, she announced on her website that her next album, Act II, will drop on March 29, associating the company with the major music news.
Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect