7 February 2012
Sunday’s Super Bowl victory by the New York Giants against the New England Patriots attracted a live TV audience in America alone of 111.3 million people – making it the most watched programme in the history of US television, of any genre.
That astonishing number means that more than one in three of all people of all ages in America sat and watched the whole four-hour spectacle on TV in their homes. The audience on Sunday just pipped the previous US TV record of 111m viewers; that was set by the 2011 Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 111.3m number is a ‘average’ figure, or the average number who watched the whole thing. The peak (most people at one time) was higher. Madonna’s half-time show on its own attracted 114m people in the USA, beating the sport itself.
Super Bowl’s stunning success in its key home market of the USA is admirable, but the event does largely remain a domestic attraction; the 111.3m US audience will be something well in excess of 80 per cent of the total global audience. Or in other words, the audience in the rest of the world combined won’t add more than a few tens of millions at most to the 111.3m US total. Any claims of billions are risible and nonsense.
The biggest ‘club’ occasion now in world sport is football’s (real football’s) Champions League final each year. As we reported back in January 2010, the ‘epochal moment’ when the Champions League final pipped Super Bowl first arrived in 2009. (More detail on that here).