Whether it was the Taylor Swift effect or not, Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII made history. Only the second overtime championship game ever, it delivered one of the biggest ratings in history. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers averaged 120 million viewers on CBS.
Add in the simulcasts on Nickelodeon, Univision, Paramount+ and other digital platform and you have a total of 123.4 million, which bests any broadcast in American history as measured by Nielsen. CBS said the game was the most-streamed ever, with Univision averaging about 2.2 million viewers for its Spanish-language broadcast, also a record for a Spanish Super Bowl broadcast.
The gaudy 123.4 million is based on fast ratings from Nielsen, with final numbers due out on Tuesday morning (Feb. 13). Sunday’s ratings were up by 7% over last year’s game, which drew 115.1 million on Fox for the previous title of most-watched broadcast in U.S. TV history. That means three-time MVP K.C. quarterback Patrick Mahomes has now played in the two highest-rated Super Bowls ever.
How big was it?
THR reported that the estimates for the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing across ABC, CBS and NBC ranged from 125 million to 150 million viewers, with the bigger number representing almost 3/4 of the entire U.S. population at the time. At press time there were no break-out numbers on Usher’s halftime show.
While most viewers likely tuned in for the football, there was obviously quite a bit of attention lavished on Taylor Swift’s globe-hopping trip to see boyfriend K.C. tight end Travis Kelce hoist his third Lombardi trophy. And while it sometimes seemed like all anyone was talking about was Traylor, according to football analyst and data cruncher Jayson Pauley, the cameras were on Swift for .36% of the Super Bowl, for a total of 54 seconds of screen time.