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Friday, March 1, 2024

Super Bowl 2024 sets ratings record with 123.4 million viewers

Super Bowl 2024 delivered record viewership for CBS Sports.

CBS announced Monday that it averaged 123.4 million viewers across CBS, Univision, Nickelodeon, Paramount+, and the NFL app, with 120.0 million of that coming via the main feed on CBS, the most in Super Bowl history.

The previous record was last year’s tilt between the Chiefs and Eagles ($115 million), which aired on NBC, for an increase of seven percent.

The 120.0 million on CBS specifically was also the largest audience for a single network.

Several factors contributed to such an eye-popping number this year.

The game featured two legacy fan bases, with the Niners having a particularly deep swath of fans dating back to their five Super Bowl championships won between 1981 and 1994.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has become the face of the NFL, having now played in four of the last five Super Bowls, winning three of them.


Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift after the Chiefs won Super Bowl 2024.
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift after the Chiefs won Super Bowl 2024. Getty Images

The relationship between star Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, perhaps the most famous person on the planet, is also a dynamic that has been drawing in casual audiences to these games throughout the season.

Ratings tend to rise and fall on the margins by how many casual viewers come into the tent, as the die-hards will be there either way.

The game was also close throughout — not only going into overtime, but taking nearly the entire 15-minute allotment before Mahomes hit Mecole Hardman for the game-winning touchdown.

Close games historically lead to higher ratings for obvious reasons.

More people feel safe tuning out to either watch something else or go to bed during blowouts.

Finally, in 2020, Nielsen began tabulating out-of-home ratings in their immediate count.


Patrick Mahomes hoists the Lombardi trophy after the Chiefs won Super Bowl 2024.
Patrick Mahomes hoists the Lombardi trophy after the Chiefs won Super Bowl 2024. Getty Images

This means counting the viewers who were watching the Super Bowl at the homes of friends and family, or in bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, hospitals and so forth.

While these viewers were always eventually counted, their inclusion in the immediate ratings announcement has led the metrics to appear higher in recent years.

In late 2021, Nielsen announced that it had been undercounting out-of-home viewers, and anecdotally numbers for big live sports events have tended to climb since then.

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