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Final Super Bowl ratings: Most-watched TV event ever!

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Super Bowl XLVIII

The biggest Super Bowl blowout in two decades had the biggest viewership ever, according to final numbers provided by Fox Sports.

Super Bowl XLVIII delivered an incredible 111.5 million viewers. That’s enough to rank Sunday’s game as the most-watched U.S. TV telecast of all time, edging out 2011’s previous record-holding game.

The 43-8 Seattle Seahawks victory drained some suspense from the annual telecast which analysts suspected would impact overall viewership. In fact, preliminary ratings early this morning suggested the game was down from last year. But in the final numbers, the Super Bowl once again set a new benchmark. The previous five Super Bowls are now the five most watched TV programs in U.S. history (the long-running holder for most-watched TV program, the M*A*S*H finale in 1983, now ranks sixth). Only last year’s telecast broke a string of rising ratings that started in 2006.

The half-time show also set a record with 115.3 million viewers watching Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, beating the 110.8 million delivered by Beyonce last year and the prior record of 114.0 million set by Madonna two years ago.

The top markets for the game were Kansas City and Seattle. New York City had its best Super Bowl rating since 1987.

Here’s Annie Barrett’s rundown of the best and worst Super Bowl ads. Here’s how Fox’s other Sunday night post-game shows performed.

Historical chart:

Super Bowl Season Date Total Viewers + (000) NFC Champion AFC Champion :30 ad rate
XLVIII 2013 Feb 2, 2014  111,500
XLVII 2012 Feb 3, 2013 108,693 San Francisco Baltimore $3.8 million
XLVI 2011 Feb 5, 2012 111,346 NY Giants New England $3.5 million
XLV 2010 Feb 6 2011 111,041 Green Bay Pittsburgh $3 million
XLIV 2009 Feb 7 2010 106,476 New Orleans Indianapolis $2.65 million
XLIII 2008 Feb 1 2009 98,736 Arizona Pittsburgh $3 million
XLII 2007 Feb. 3,2008 97,452 NY Giants New England $2.7 million
XLI 2006 Feb 4. 2007 93,250 Chicago Indianapolis $2.6 million
XL 2005 Feb 5 2006 * 90,745 Seattle Pittsburgh $2.5 million
XXXIX 2004 Feb 6 2005 86,072 Philadelphia New England $2.4 million
XXXVIII 2003 Feb 1 2004 89,795 Carolina New England $2.25 million
XXXVII 2002 Jan 26 2003 88,637 Tampa Bay Oakland $2.1 million
XXXVI 2001 Feb 3 2002 86,801 St. Louis New England $1.9 million
XXXV 2000 Jan 28 2001 84,335 NY Giants Baltimore $2.05 million