Turns Out a Record-Breaking Number of People Watched Super Bowl LVII

Previous calculations had it coming in third

A pass in Super Bowl LVII
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws the football during Super Bowl LVII.
Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl LVII, one thing was abundantly clear: a whole lot of people had tuned in to watch it. Reports in the aftermath of the game suggested that it would rank as the third-most-watched program in television history. Given that NFL games make up the lion’s share of highly watched televised events or shows anyway, this wasn’t all that shocking. But a recalculation of the viewing data for the latest Super Bowl reveals that, if anything, the previous rankings underrated things slightly.

As ESPN reports, the latest Super Bowl is now believed to be the most-watched television program of all time. ESPN cites data from Nielsen, which revisited its own measurements and realized that it had left two million people out of its final calculation. The new figure? 115.1 million viewers, spread across a number of viewing platforms, from over the air to on a smartphone app.

There’s one big caveat to that ranking, though: ESPN points out that this year’s numbers factor in out-of-home streaming, which Nielsen has only been measuring for a few years. Comparable numbers don’t exist for the 2015 or 2017 Super Bowls — the previous top two in viewer numbers — and it’s possible that either or both could be higher if this data had existed at the time.

Given the close scoreline for the latest Super Bowl and the presence of a superstar quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and it’s not hard to see why so many people tuned in. Alternately, if you ever find yourself lamenting the loss of the monoculture, this makes a good case that it’s still around — it’s just increasingly isolated in one high-profile game of football.

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