SBD/Issue 94/Sports Media

Super Bowl Gives NBC 42.0 Rating, Record 98.7 Million Viewers

Sunday's Super Bowl Was The Second
Most-Viewed Show Of All-Time
NBC's telecast of the Steelers' 27-23 win over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday night earned a 42.0 final Nielsen rating and 98.7 million viewers from 6:30-10:15pm ET. While the rating is down 2.6% from a 43.1 for the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLII on Fox last year, the 98.7 million viewers marks the most-viewed Super Bowl ever, surpassing last year's record-setting 97.4 million viewers. The 98.7 million viewers also ranks second all-time behind the finale of "M.A.S.H." on CBS in February '83, which averaged 106 million viewers. Super Bowl XLIII's rating is also down 1.4% from a 42.6 rating (93.2 million viewers) for Colts-Bears on CBS in '07. For Super Bowl XXXII in '98, the last time NBC televised the event, the net earned a 44.5 rating and 90 million viewers for Broncos-Packers. In terms of total reach, meaning a viewer watched all or part of the telecast, Super Bowl XLIII was the most-viewed TV event ever with 151.6 million viewers, beating out the 148.3 million viewers for last year's game. Also view a market-by-market breakdown for Sunday night's telecast (THE DAILY).

Writer Feels NBC Had The Best
Super Bowl Broadcast Ever
SUPER PERFORMANCE: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes there is "no debate that NBC had the best Super Bowl broadcast ever." The net has the "best studio host (Bob Costas), the best studio analyst (Cris Collinsworth), the best play-by-play announcer (Al Michaels) and the best game analyst (John Madden)." With studio analysts Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, guests like former NFL coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren and a "couple of amazing technical toys like the 'NBCee It' close-up replays," NBC had a "near-perfect telecast." Jones: "Is there any way to allow NBC to do the Super Bowl every year?" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/3). In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote there was "nothing terribly excessive about NBC's actual game coverage, once you got past all the fluff stuff singing, coin tossing and jet flying in the minutes leading up to the kickoff." The net had "all the proper replay angles on every critical play." In addition, the "foolish notion that John Madden has lost any heat on his broadcasting fastball should be given a rest following the bravura performance offered up by America's favorite football analyst and his typically brilliant play-by-play partner, Al Michaels." NBC also may have "found a future broadcasting star" in Patriots S Rodney Harrison (, 2/2). In L.A., Debbie Goffa wrote Michaels and Madden “proved again why they are the best in the business. No one else is even close” (, 2/2).

YOUNG & THE RESTLESS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes under the header, "Steve Young Compliments Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger In Gush-Fest." Young following Sunday's game interviewed Roethlisberger on ESPN, and Young "melted." He "went wax" and was "totally star-struck." Raissman: "Young didn't know whether to pitch platitudes or simply gush" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/3).

PENALTY FLAGS: CABLEFAX DAILY reports RCN Corp. during the Super Bowl reportedly "had trouble showing the game to one Manhattan apartment because of problems with a hub transmitter." To make up for the trouble, RCN is "offering one free month of service and inviting" the effected fans to lunch with Giants DE Justin Tuck and Jets WR Brad Smith (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/3). Meanwhile, in DC, Lisa de Moraes reports Comcast "plans to compensate its analog customers" in the Tucson area who were affected when its coverage of the Super Bowl switched momentarily to a feed of an adult channel. A Comcast spokesperson said, "We can't undo what happened, but we remain deeply sorry for the impact this situation has had on our customers. ... We will be issuing a $10 credit to any Comcast video customer in Tucson who was impacted" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/3).

GLOBAL APPEAL: In Canada, a combined 4.293 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLIII on CTV and French-language net RDS. The broadcast is CTV's most-watched telecast of the year to-date (CTV). The GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston reports the game was watched by 3.602 million viewers on CTV, down 14% from 4.2 million last year. The viewership fell short of the 3.684 million viewers for TSN's telecast of the Canada-Sweden IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal game last month. Super Bowl XLIII outdrew TSN's telecast of the '08 Stampeders-Alouettes Grey Cup, which drew 2.439 million viewers on November 23. RDS drew 691,000 viewers for Super Bowl XLIII, down 24% from last year's game (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/3).

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