Out-of-Home Viewers Push Super Bowl 54 Total Audience to 113.4 Million

The game gave Fox "the largest revenue day in TV history," says CEO

Fox generated "around $600 million of gross revenue" for its Super Bowl Sunday coverage, said Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch. Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

The final total audience number for Super Bowl 54 is in: the game was watched by 113.4 million viewers in all.

That figure includes 11 million out-of-home viewers, who were added to the tally on Tuesday by Fox. That’s a slight increase over Super Bowl LIII’s total audience of 112.7 million last year.

Before the out-of-home audience was included, Nielsen said that Super Bowl 54, in which the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20, had been watched by 102.1 million viewers across all platforms, including Fox, Fox Deportes and Fox, NFL and Verizon digital properties. That represented a 1% increase over the 100.7 million multiplatform audience last year for Super Bowl 53 on CBS.

While Nielsen had initially said that 99.9 million total viewers watched the game on linear TV, in finalized figures, that number increased to 100.4 million, putting it over the coveted 100 million mark. Last year, a linear audience of 98.2 million watched Super Bowl 53, which marked the first time that number had fallen below 100 million since 2009.

It’s the first year-over-year Super Bowl linear ratings increase since NBC’s telecast in 2015. That still remains the Super Bowl linear record, averaging of 114.4 million total viewers.

Last year, the addition of 12 million out-of-home viewers pushed that game’s total audience to 112.7 million.

The Super Bowl ratings uptick came after another NFL audience jump this season. Audiences had increased 5% in total viewers during the regular season, though the AFC and NFC Championship games saw viewership declines.

Fox received as much as $5.6 million per 30-second Super Bowl spot, which is a new record. The average price for a 30-second spot was in the low-to-mid $5 million range.

The network sold out its Super Bowl ad inventory in November, capping the fastest-moving Super Bowl market in nine years. It then worked with the NFL to add an additional “floater” ad pod to the game last month, capitalizing on massive advertiser demand with five more in-game units.

On Fox Corporation’s earnings last Wednesday, CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Fox had “the largest revenue day in TV history” on Super Bowl Sunday, generating “around $600 million of gross revenue” for its Super Bowl coverage, starting with pre-game and continuing through The Masked Singer which aired after the game.

According to Kantar, Fox received an estimated $435 million in in-game ad revenue, the most for a Super Bowl since the 2017 game, also on Fox. That 2017 game’s $390 million in revenue had been boosted by the first overtime in Super Bowl history, which added an estimated $20 million to its tally.

Now, Fox passes the Super Bowl baton to CBS, which will air Super Bowl 55 on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. While NBC would normally be next in the Super Bowl cycle, last year CBS and NBC agreed to swap their Super Bowl telecasts in 2021 and 2022.

The switch will enable NBC to once again broadcast the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics in the same month in 2022 as it did in 2018, and gives CBS two Super Bowls in a 24-month span.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.