Super Bowl 50 failed to continue the two-year trend of setting the TV viewership record. 111.9 million people tuned in to watch the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home of the San Francisco 49ers.
When the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos 43-8 Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, a record 112.2 million people watched FOX’s broadcast. A year later, when Tom Brady would win his fourth Super Bowl as his New England Patriots took down the defending Seahawks 28-24 in Glendale, Arizona, that record would be topped with 114.4 million viewers.
The reasoning behind this drop off of viewers is hard to explain. The sport continues to grow and the game had some pretty solid storylines, including the great Peyton Manning’s likely last game. However, Super Bowl tickets did not see a drop off in price, as they were on average the most expensive ticket in U.S. sports history. Super Bowl 51 will be in Houston next year, with both ticket prices and the cost of a commercial prices expected to increase, despite the slight decline in viewership.
Below are the top five most-watched shows in television. Spoiler: they are all Super Bowls.
2015: Super Bowl 49 (Patriots-Seahawks) – 114.4 million viewers
2014: Super Bowl 48 (Seahawks-Broncos) – 112.2 million viewers
2016: Super Bowl 50 (Broncos-Panthers) – 111.9 million viewers
2012: Super Bowl 46 (Giants-Patriots) – 111.3 million viewers
2011: Super Bowl 45 (Packers-Steelers) – 111 million viewers