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NEW YORK (AP) — The Super Bowl rebounded to draw an estimated 101.1 million television viewers who saw the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals on a late-game drive, proving the dominance of football as an audience magnet.
The audience on NBC and Telemundo was a 6% increase over the 95.2 million TV viewers who saw the Tampa Bay Bucs crowned as champions in 2021, the Nielsen company said on Tuesday.
The ratings improvement for what is traditionally the most-watched event of the year was no surprise, given the run of terrific playoff games leading up to it. Viewership for the NFL’s divisional round was up 20% over last year, and the conference championships were up 10%, Nielsen said.
The halftime show starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Mary K. Blige was also a hit, and NBC expressed hope that the game’s halo will kick-start ratings for the otherwise disappointing Winter Olympics in Beijing.
NBC said another 11.2 million people streamed this year’s game, putting the total audience at 112.3 million people. The audience for television and streaming combined is up 12.6% over last year.
For its hometown Bengals, Cincinnati had the highest audience share in the country, meaning the percentage of television viewers watching the game, Nielsen said. Los Angeles didn’t even make the top 10 markets.
The most-watched Super Bowl ever remains the 2015 game between New England and Seattle, which had 114.4 million viewers.
Live television viewing in the last three months of 2021 was up over the previous year, and that can be attributed solely to football, Strain said.
Nielsen estimated that 103.4 million television viewers watched the Super Bowl halftime show, and Samba’s data illustrated how it is become an event in itself. Samba estimated that 379,000 households, or roughly more than a million people, tuned in for the halftime show and left after it was done.