SBD/February 2, 2011/Media

Super Bowl XLV Likely Poised To Set Yet Another Viewership Record

The question "isn't whether Sunday's Super Bowl will break another viewership record, only by how much," according to Gary Levin of USA TODAY. Super Bowl XLIV, which featured the Saints defeating the Colts, drew 106.5 million viewers last year, breaking a record set by 1983's "M*A*S*H" finale. Based on that, it is "natural to expect this year's momentum, coupled with a classic Packers-Steelers matchup, to strike gold" for Fox. Regular-season NFL games this season averaged 17.9 million viewers, the biggest total since '89, and the playoffs "averaged 37.7 million, a record, including last week's AFC championship (a huge 54.9 million)." NFL games "marked eight of last year's top 10 TV programs." The gains are "having an effect on TV: NBC's ratings plunged 30% in the past three weeks from its 'Sunday Night Football'-fueled fall" (USA TODAY, 2/2).

GAZING INTO THE FUTURE: Fox Sports President Eric Shanks, when asked if a Super Bowl on cable is in the future, said, "I don't think in the foreseeable future, but who knows 10, 15, 20 years down the line. The line is being blurred between over-the-air broadcast and cable. There's a generation growing up today who probably has no idea what over-the-air television even means because they or their parents just get a bill in the mail every month and they pay it. I think the economics for the foreseeable future will keep it on broadcast television" (Fox).
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