Entertainment

The Super Bowl Ratings: Huge! But Not Record-Breaking

The Ravens’ victory was watched by 108.4 million viewers, making it the third-watched TV program of all time. That excludes the blackout, though.

Beyonce performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. Matt Slocum / AP

Brother versus brother, Beyoncé, the blackout, a sort of comeback: Yesterday’s Super Bowl seemed interesting at the time, but now it just looks like a mess, right?

The ratings were massive: 108.4 million viewers. It was the third most-watched television program of all time. (Last year’s game is No. 1 with an audience of 111.3 million; 2011’s Super Bowl drew 111 million.) That number excluded the blackout period, though, so it’s a good thing that Super Bowl XLVII didn’t break records, because there would forever be an asterisk on it. Nielsen and CBS can exclude that half hour because the network didn’t air first-run commercials. So in case you were wondering why the network didn’t take advantage of the boring fallow period during which the broadcasters were pitifully vamping by airing a zillion ads, that is why. People did tune back in when the lights came back on: The ratings peaked at the end, when 113.9 million viewers watched between 10:30–10:47 p.m. ET.

Elementary, the Sherlock Holmes mystery that got the lucky post-game berth, suffered from the length of the game. Not that 20.8 million viewers is anything to sneeze at, but that makes it the second-lowest post–Super Bowl episode ever. The lowest, as noted here, was Alias in 2003, with 17.4 million viewers. Both Elementary and Alias were hampered by starting out of prime time on the East Coast: Elementary began at 11:11 p.m. ET.

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