Super Bowl is Most-Watched TV Show in History

by | February 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM | General, Ratings, Super Bowl, Super Bowl Commercials, TV News

Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants warms up prior to playing the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium. (NBC)

NEW YORK — For the third consecutive year, the Super Bowl has set a record as the most-watched television show in U.S. history.

The Nielsen Co. said Monday that an estimated 111.3 million people watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots on Sunday night. That narrowly beat the 111 million who watched Green Bay’s win over Pittsburgh last year.

NBC was blessed by a competitive game between two teams that played one of the Super Bowl’s most memorable games four years ago, with one of them representing the largest media market in the country.

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The overnight rating for the New York Giants’ Super Bowl win over New England was less than 1 percent shy of the record tied last year.

New York’s 21-17 victory Sunday night on NBC received a 47.8 rating and 71 share, Nielsen Media Research said Monday. It trailed the 47.9/71 overnight for Green Bay’s 31-25 victory over Pittsburgh last year on Fox and the 47.9/68 for the Giants’ 39-20 win over Denver in 1987.

The game began with a 43.3/69 for the first half hour from 6:30-7 p.m. EST and peaked at a 51.8/73 from 9:30-10 p.m., when the Giants rallied in the fourth quarter.

Boston had its best NFL rating at 56.7/81, topping the 2002 Super Bowl, and New York’s 49.7/74 was second only to 1987. Indianapolis’ 56.4/79 was second-best for a host, trailing only Jacksonville’s 58.9/77 in 2006.

The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a broadcast, and the share is the percentage of homes watching among those with TVs on at the time.

National ratings were due out later Monday.