Super Bowl 58 was Taylor-made for ratings gold.
Thanks to multiple telecasts and streams, the power of live sports and even a Taylor Swift bump, Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup showcasing the Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime win against the San Fransisco 49ers smashed viewership records.
According to Nielsen Fast National data and Adobe Analytics, the game was the most-watched telecast ever, with 123.4 million average viewers across all platforms, including CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision, as well as CBS Sports and NFL digital properties like NFL+.
Update: On Tuesday, Nielsen released final Super Bowl numbers, with the broadcast reaching 123.7 million average viewers, a slight uptick from the initial ratings.
The game was up 7.4% over last year when Fox’s Super Bowl 57 matchup between the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles came in at 115.1 million average viewers.
According to Nielsen, more than 200 million viewers (202.4) watched all or part of Super Bowl 58, which is the highest unduplicated total audience in history, up 10% year over year.
CBS led viewership with 120.3 million viewers, the largest audience in history for a single network. The game was also the most-streamed Super Bowl in history, led by Paramount+.
The ratings Love Story continues
The game had plenty going for it heading into Sunday.
For one, the Taylor Swift Effect was real and measurable throughout the season, with the pop singer expected to bring millions of viewers along as she cheered on her boyfriend, Travis Kelce.
However, it’s not all Swift.
NFL ratings have reached record highs all season, with the first three weekends of the postseason averaging 38.5 million viewers, a 9% year-over-year increase. Overall, 93 of the top 100 programs viewed on linear in the U.S. over the last year were NFL games.
Ratings were also up on streaming properties throughout the year, with Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football up 24% year over year and Peacock notching record-breaking numbers for its exclusive playoff matchup that also featured the Chiefs.
Showcasing the increased demand, CBS sold out Super Bowl ads back in November, long before the Chiefs and a Swift appearance were anywhere near a lock for the Big Game. And that ad sellout wasn’t cheap.
The ads fetched anywhere from $6.5 million to $7 million for 30 seconds across CBS, Paramount+ and Nickelodeon, giving Paramount the largest Super Bowl ad sales day ever as it blew past Fox’s previous high of around $600 million. Paramount even sold out ads through a potential overtime, which came in handy as the game headed into extra minutes on Sunday.
Fox will look to reclaim the Super Bowl ratings title next season on Feb. 9, 2025, with a game broadcast on Fox and the Fox Sports app.