The Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday was the most-watched television programme in US history, according to preliminary data released by Nielsen and CBS on Monday.
According to CBS, which broadcast the game, the Super Bowl averaged 123.4 million viewers across all platforms, breaking the mark of 115.1 million set during last year’s Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
CBS added that 202.4 million viewers watched at least part of the game, breaking the record of 184 million (also set last Super Bowl).
Though Nielsen’s final data will be released Tuesday, Monday’s figures made it clear the game was a smash hit for CBS and the NFL. The 120 million viewers who watched the game on CBS was a single-network record. The Paramount+ audience made it the most-streamed Super Bowl, as well, CBS claimed.
The total of 123.4 million also includes viewers of simulcasts on Nickelodeon, Univision, Paramount+, NFL+ and other NFL digital properties.
While the game going to overtime played a role in audience retention, several storylines had much of America buzzing long before kickoff.
The win was the Chiefs’ third in five seasons, placing quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid among rare NFL royalty. Mahomes joined Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only players with at least three Super Bowl MVPs, and Reid became the fifth coach with at least three Super Bowl wins as a head coach.
Las Vegas hosted the Super Bowl for the first time, with Usher performing at half-time.
The game also marked the season’s culmination of the Taylor Swift-NFL juggernaut, as the superstar was in attendance to watch her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, catch nine passes for 93 yards for his third Super Bowl win.