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 a total audience delivery of 123.4 million average viewers across all platforms, including CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision, as well as CBS Sports, Univision and NFL digital properties, including NFL+.
The game was up +7% vs. last year’s Super Bowl, Fox’s Super Bowl 57 matchup between the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, which 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 120.0 million viewers, the largest audience in history for a single network, and 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.