Giants-Patriots Third Most-Watched Super Bowl Ever

By Chris Ariens Comment

According to overnight numbers, Super Bowl XLVI earned a 47.8 rating, making it the third-most watched Super Bowl ever, after last year’s Packers-Steelers match-up and Super Bowl XXI which pitted the Giants against the Broncos in 1987.

When Nielsen Fast National data is released this afternoon, the viewership could approach last year’s 111.0 million that watched Super Bowl XLV, the most-watched Super Bowl ever, and the most-watched television audience in U.S. history.

Last night’s game was 7% higher than the 47.8/71 than Super Bowl XLII four years ago, when the Giants defeated the Patriots 17-14. That game was on FOX.

The flip and slip-tacular halftime performance by Madonna earned a 48.1/72 overnight, which is 1% ahead of last year’s 8-8:30 time period featuring the Black Eyed Peas (47.4/70) and 20% higher than NBC’s last Super Bowl with Bruce Springsteen (40.2/62).

Top 5 Super Bowls of all time (overnight ratings):

T1. 47.9/71 – Super Bowl XLV, Packers 31-Steelers 25, FOX (2011)
T1. 47.9/68 – Super Bowl XXI, Giants 39-Broncos 20, CBS (1987)
3. 47.8/71 – Super Bowl XLVI, Giants 21-Patriots 17, NBC (2012)
4. 47.4/NA – Super Bowl XIV, Steelers 31-Rams 19, CBS (1980)
5. 46.9/70 – Super Bowl XX, Bears 46-Patriots 10, NBC (1986)

Many more stats after the jump…

The ratings grew throughout the game and peaked at a 51.8/73 from 9:30-10pmET in the fourth quarter when Eli Manning led the Giants on a game-winning drive.


6:30-7, 43.3/69
7-7:30, 45.9/71
7:30-8, 47.7/72
8-8:30, 48.1/72
8:30-9, 48.3/71
9-9:30, 49.3/70
9:30-10, 51.8/73

FINAL HALF HOUR OF PRE-GAME SHOW BEST SINCE ’03: From 6-6:30, the Super Bowl XLVI Pre-Game show drew a 34.5 overnight rating, two percent higher than last year and the best for the final half-hour of the pre-game show since Super Bowl XXXVII (35.3 on ABC). Total pre-game (2-6:30) registered a 12.0/23 just two percent off from last year’s (12.2/23) and two percent higher than the last NBC Super Bowl (11.8/23 for Super Bowl XLIII).

• The post-game (10-10:15) registered a 35.3/54, 17 percent higher than last year’s 30.3 for Super Bowl XLV in Fox.

BOSTON SETS LOCAL MARKET RECORD: The rating in Boston was the best ever for
an NFL game in that market (56.7/81) topping the previous high of 56.1/78 for Super Bowl XXXVI (56.1/78 on Fox).

• The New York market registered a 49.7/74, the second-highest overnight for an
NFL game in that market, trailing only the 53.4/72 for Super Bowl XXI, the Giants first-ever Super Bowl. By comparison, New York registered a 44.9/67 for Super Bowl XLII, the last time they were in the big game.
• The host market of Indianapolis registered a 56.4/79 overnight rating, the second-best overnight for a host market only trailing Jacksonville (58.9/77) for Super Bowl XXXIX).

1. Boston, 56.7/81
2. Indianapolis, 56.4/79
3. Norfolk, 54.2/73
4. Columbus, 54.1/72
5. New Orleans, 54.0/72
T6. Nashville, 53.5/74
T6. Jacksonville, 53.5/70
8. Buffalo, 52.9/72
9. Kansas City, 52.1/73
10. Milwaukee, 52.0/73

*New York ranked 18th with a 49.7/74