Super Bowl improves with final ratings
Most-watched in 10 years with 90.7 million
February 6, 2006
The Pittsburgh Steelers won their first Super Bowl title since the 1970s, and ABC also made a bit of history: the most-watched Super Bowl game since 1996.
According to updated ratings released late yesterday, the game averaged a 41.6 household rating, up a half a point from last year’s 41.1 rating for the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Early metered market ratings from 56 cities published yesterday by Media Life indicated that the game had slipped 3 percent year to year. But those don’t reflect the 210 total markets measured by Nielsen, nor do they reflect totally accurate time period data. It’s not uncommon for final ratings to flip for an event as big as the Super Bowl.
The game averaged 90.7 million total viewers, about 5 percent more than last year’s 86.1 million viewers. The 1996 Super Bowl averaged 94.1 million, the most in Super Bowl history.
The game got especially strong tune-in in Pittsburgh, which averaged a 57.1 household rating, and Seattle, which averaged a 55. The Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10 in what many sportswriters described as a dull game, as Seattle never seriously threatened to score during the fourth quarter.
But positive buzz about the advertisements, as well as the somewhat close score, likely kept viewers tuning in.
Among adults 18-49, ABC’s rating was up slightly over last year. The game averaged a 34.6 in that demo, up 4 percent over last year’s 33.2 on Fox.
ABC easily finished first for the night among 18-49s, according to Nielsen overnights, with a 28.7 average rating and 57 share from 7-11 p.m. Fox was second at 2.1/4, CBS third at 1.6/3, NBC fourth at 1.3/3 and the WB fifth at 0.6/1. Ratings for Univision weren’t immediately available.
At 7 p.m. ABC led with a 32.3 rating among 18-49s for its coverage of Super Bowl XL. Fox was second that hour with a 1.4 for an hour of Simpsons repeats, NBC third with a 0.9 for Dateline, CBS fourth with a 0.7 for 60 Minutes and WB fifth with a 0.4 for the first of three Beauty and the Geek repeats.
ABC led again at 8 p.m. with a 31.8 average for its continued coverage of the Super Bowl. Fox remained second with a 2.4 for repeats of The Simpsons and Family Guy, with CBS third with a 1.5 for a repeat of Criminal Minds, NBC fourth with a 0.8 for a Crossing Jordan rerun, and WB fifth with a 0.6 for another Beauty and the Geek repeat.
At 9 p.m. ABC led again with a 31.2 average for the Super Bowl. Fox held onto second place with a 2.4 rating for an hour of Family Guy repeats, with CBS third with a 2.0 for a repeat of Cold Case, NBC fourth with a 1.2 for another Crossing Jordan rerun and WB fifth with a 0.7 for its last repeat of Beauty and the Geek.
During the 10 p.m. hour, ABC led once more with a 19.4 average rating for the end of its Super Bowl coverage and the beginning of Grey’s Anatomy. NBC moved into second with a 2.4 for a repeat of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and CBS was third with a 2.2 for a repeat of CSI: Miami.
Among households, ABC led the night with a 34.6 average rating and a 52 share. CBS was second at 4.1/6, NBC third at 3.5/5, Fox fourth at 2.7/4 and WB fifth at 0.9/1.
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