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Super Bowl + Las Vegas + Taylor Swift = most-watched TV program ever

Updated February 14, 2024 - 9:50 am

Las Vegas’ first Super Bowl made TV history.

Super Bowl 58 on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium was the most-watched telecast in U.S. history, with an average TV audience of 123.4 million viewers, according to CBS Sports.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime. The game aired on CBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount+, CBS Sports, Univision and NFL digital platforms.

Viewership numbers were up 7 percent over last year’s Super Bowl, which saw an average audience of 115.1 million viewers.

More than 202 million viewers watched at least some of Sunday’s Super Bowl, a 10 percent increase over the 183.6 million people who watched some of 2023’s title game.

Several storylines most likely provided a viewership boost, highlighted by whether global pop star Taylor Swift would make it from Japan, where she was performing a concert, to Las Vegas in time for the game. Swift, who dates Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce, made it with plenty of time to spare and was shown several times from her suite during the game.

Swift has been credited with bringing a new audience to the NFL, with her largely young, female fan base tuning in.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week during his annual Super Bowl news conference that he welcomed the added attention Swift has placed on the league.

“Having the Taylor Swift effect is also a positive,” Goodell said. “She knows great entertainment, and I think that’s why she loves NFL football. I think it’s great to have her part of it. Obviously it creates a buzz. It creates another group of young fans, particularly young women, that are interested in seeing why is she going to this game, why is she interested in this game. Besides Travis, she is a football fan, and I think that’s great for us.”

Another factor that could have contributed to the record numbers was the intrigue of the game taking place in Las Vegas for the first time. The fabled, neon-lit Strip was shown numerous times during the telecast.

There also was the allure of the Chiefs, led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, going for their second straight Super Bowl championship. They became the first team to accomplish the feat since 2004.

CBS had the largest share of viewers, drawing 120 million, the largest audience in history for a single network.

The viewership figures are based on Nielsen Fast National data and Adobe Analytics, with final Nielsen data planned to be released Tuesday, according to CBS.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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