Super Bowl draws fewest viewers since 2010’s game
CBS’s Super Bowl telecast of the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers, interrupted for 34 minutes by a power failure, drew a smaller audience than the last two record championship games.
The four-hour contest at the Superdome in New Orleans averaged 108.4 million viewers, New York-based CBS said Monday, in a statement, citing Nielsen data. The figures exclude a half-hour commercial-free delay when play stopped.
The drop ends seven years of rising viewership for the game, annually the most-watched U.S. television event. The blackout didn’t dent the audience, according to Portland, Oregon-based researcher Rentrak Corp. The lopsided 28-6 score before play was suspended and a lack of a national following for either team were factors, Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in San Francisco, wrote in an email.
“It looked like a blowout early,” Creutz said.
Last year’s contest between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots drew a record audience of 111.3 million. The previous year’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers attracted 111 million.
The Ravens, helped by Jacoby Jones’s 108-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter, held a 28-6 lead when many of the Superdome’s lights went out. The viewing audience remained stable and even grew while play stopped, Rentrak said. Once play resumed, the 49ers staged a comeback, scoring 17 points over 4 minutes, 10 seconds. As the score tightened, more viewers tuned into the game. The audience peaked in the fourth quarter, CBS said.
Even without a record, CBS is poised to win the 2012-2013 TV season in total viewers and the marketer-targeted 18- to 49-year-old age group, the network’s first such victory in two decades.
CBS, home to the drama NCIS and the comedy Big Bang Theory, is already the most-watched U.S. network, averaging 11.7 million total prime-time viewers a night since the season began in September. It was second in 18 to 49 as of Jan. 27.