Will 'Super Bowl XLVI' TV Viewership Set Another Record? (Poll+ Ratings History)

Categories: TV Ratings Reference,TV Sports Ratings & News

Written By

February 4th, 2012


Unlike many other  sports championship TV viewership which have declined over time, Super Bowl TV viewership has not only held up well, but after a generation of fairly flat viewership, began growing again in the last six years or so. Last year's Super Bowl XLV had the highest average viewership (111.010 million) of any US TV telecast in history.

Will there be another record this year?

Factors that may increase this year's viewership:

  • Increased 2011-12 regular season NFL TV ratings
  • Two bigger TV markets than last year. NY Giants & New England Patriots are from the #1 and #7 TV markets.  Steelers and the Packers, #23 and #70. Not nearly the effect that it has on other sports TV championship ratings, but could provide the margin over the record.
  • Rematch of the Super Bowl teams from four years ago.
  • Bad weather (could keep Nielsen families at home where they are counted vs. in a bar where they aren't)

Factors that may decrease this year's viewership:

  • Game competitiveness. The last four Super Bowls were competitive most of the game. A game that gets lopsided early would likely take a viewership hit
  • Good weather (could keep Nielsen in a bar where they aren't counted) Not sure what the weather forecast is over the major population centers is like this Sunday.

With a competitive game, I'd expect another record.

What's your guess?

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To make a guess on the program after the Super Bowl (The Voiceclick here.

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Complete Super Bowl TV Ratings:

Game Date Net Rating Share $/30 Sec. Ad Homes (000) Viewers (000) NFC Champion AFC Champion
XLV Feb 7 2011* FOX 46.0 69 111,010 Green Bay Pittsburgh
XLIV Feb 7 2010* CBS 45.0 68 $2,800,000 51,728 106,476 New Orleans Indianapolis
XLIII Feb 1 2009* NBC 42.0 64 $3,000,000 48,139 98,732 Arizona Pittsburgh
XLII Feb 3 2008* FOX 43.1 65 $2,699,963 48,665 97,448 New York Giants New England
XLI Feb 4 2007* CBS 42.6 64 $2,385,365 47,505 93,184 Chicago Indianapolis
XL Feb 5 2006* ABC 41.6 62 $2,500,000 45,867 90,745 Seattle Pittsburgh
XXXIX Feb 6 2005 FOX 41.1 62 $2,400,000 45,081 86,072 Philadelphia New England
XXXVIII Feb 1 2004 CBS 41.4 63 $2,302,200 44,908 89,795 Carolina New England
XXXVII Jan 26 2003 ABC 40.7 61 $2,200,000 43,433 88,637 Tampa Bay Oakland
XXXVI Feb 3 2002 FOX 40.4 61 $2,200,000 42,664 86,801 St. Louis New England
XXXV Jan 28 2001 CBS 40.4 61 $2,200,000 41,270 84,335 NY Giants Baltimore
XXXIV Jan 30 2000 ABC 43.3 63 $2,100,000 43,618 88,465 St. Louis Tennessee
XXXIII Jan 31 1999 FOX 40.2 61 $1,600,000 39,992 83,720 Atlanta Denver
XXXII Jan 25 1998 NBC 44.5 67 $1,291,100 43,630 90,000 Green Bay Denver
XXXI Jan 26 1997 FOX 43.3 65 $1,200,000 42,000 87,870 Green Bay New England
XXX Jan 28 1996 NBC 46 68 $1,085,000 44,145 94,080 Dallas Pittsburgh
XXIX Jan 29 1995 ABC 41.3 62 $1,150,000 39,400 83,420 San Francisco San Diego
XXVIII Jan 30 1994 NBC 45.5 66 $900,000 42,860 90,000 Dallas Buffalo
XXVII Jan 31 1993 NBC 45.1 66 $850,000 41,990 90,990 Dallas Buffalo
XXVI Jan 26 1992 CBS 40.3 61 $850,000 37,120 79,590 Washington Buffalo
XXV Jan 27 1991 ABC 41.9 63 $800,000 39,010 79,510 NY Giants Buffalo
XXIV Jan 28 1990 CBS 39 63 $700,400 35,920 73,852 San Francisco Denver
XXIII Jan 22 1989 NBC 43.5 68 $675,000 39,320 81,590 San Francisco Cincinnati
XXII Jan 31 1988 ABC 41.9 62 $645,000 37,120 80,140 Washington Denver
XXI Jan 25 1987 CBS 45.8 66 $600,000 40,030 87,190 NY Giants Denver
XX Jan 26 1986 NBC 48.3 70 $550,000 41,490 92,570 Chicago New England
XIX Jan 20 1985 ABC 46.4 63 $525,000 39,390 85,530 San Francisco Miami
XVIII Jan 22 1984 CBS 46.4 71 $368,200 38,880 77,620 Washington LA Raiders
XVII Jan 30 1983 NBC 48.6 69 $400,000 40,480 81,770 Washington Miami
XVI Jan 24 1982 CBS 49.1 73 $324,300 40,020 85,240 San Francisco Cincinnati
XV Jan 25 1981 NBC 44.4 63 $275,000 34,540 68,290 Philadelphia Oakland
XIV Jan 20 1980 CBS 46.3 67 $222,000 35,330 76,240 LA Rams Pittsburgh
XIII Jan 21 1979 NBC 47.1 74 $185,000 35,090 74,740 Dallas Pittsburgh
XII Jan 15 1978 CBS 47.2 67 $162,300 34,410 78,940 Dallas Denver
XI Jan 09 1977 NBC 44.4 73 $125,000 31,610 62,050 Minnesota Oakland
X Jan 18 1976 CBS 42.3 78 $110,000 29,440 57,710 Dallas Pittsburgh
IX Jan 12 1975 NBC 42.4 72 $107,000 29,040 56,050 Minnesota Pittsburgh
VIII Jan 13 1974 CBS 41.6 73 $103,500 27,540 51,700 Minnesota Miami
VII Jan 14 1973 NBC 42.7 72 $88,100 27,670 53,320 Washington Miami
VI Jan 16 1972 CBS 44.2 74 $86,100 27,450 56,640 Dallas Miami
V Jan 17 1971 NBC 39.9 75 $72,500 23,980 46,040 Dallas Baltimore
IV Jan 11 1970 CBS 39.4 69 $78,200 23,050 44,270 Minnesota Kansas City
III Jan 12 1969 NBC 36 70 $55,000 20,520 41,660 Baltimore NY Jets
II Jan 14 1968 CBS 36.8 68 $54,500 20,610 39,120 Green Bay Oakland
I Jan 15 1967 CBS 22.6 43 $42,500 12,410 26,750 Green Bay Kansas City
I Jan 15 1967 NBC 18.5 36 $37,500 10,160 24,430 Green Bay Kansas City

2006-11 Data is Live+Same Day, all other years are Live viewing.

Ad expenditure data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Note: Super Bowl 1 aired on both CBS & NBC.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

 
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