While Fox Sports said the average TV viewership for the Feb. 12 Super Bowl LVII between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles reached 113 million, up about 1% over Super Bowl LVI, new data from AdImpact suggests the NFL’s annual championship game actually generated much higher viewership.
Citing quarter-by-quarter game data, AdImpact said a peak 124 million viewers tuned in during the second quarter after Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes re-injured his right ankle and ahead of the halftime show featuring singer Rhianna. Notably, viewership declined in the last quarter despite the close score.
During the national anthem, around 6:30 p.m. ET, viewership was at 77 million. By kickoff at 6:43 p.m. ET, 98.8 million fans were watching. With the ball in play, 104 million people watched as the Eagles’ scored their first touchdown.
Following the commercial break, the Chiefs bounced back, scoring their first touchdown less than 10 minutes later with 107.8 million viewers watching. Viewership continued to grow, with 114.6 million tuning in by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, viewership continued to climb higher as the Eagles’ and Chiefs’ both traded touchdowns. The Eagles’ scored their third touchdown with 120 million viewers watching.
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Viewership peaked at the end of the second quarter shortly after the Eagles’ catch was challenged and overturned. Although viewership slightly decreased by 1 million at halftime, 123.5 million people tuned in to watch Rihanna’s show, which was notable as it was her first performance in six-plus years.
As the halftime performance wound down, viewership stood at 121 million to start the third quarter, with the Chiefs gaining possession. In the third quarter, viewership was defined by the beginning of the Chiefs’ comeback.
Viewership in Q3 peaked at 122 million views around 8:56 p.m. ET, around the same time the Chiefs scored their third touchdown. After the ad break, a key Eagles catch was challenged at 9:09 p.m. ET with 121.5 million watching. By the end of the quarter, 120 million viewers still tuned into the game.
In the fourth quarter, viewership slightly decreased to 119 million viewers. However, the game remained competitive. The Chiefs scored their fourth touchdown with 120 million watching. Following an Eagles’ touchdown and a two-point conversion, the game was tied at 35-35 with viewership at 118.9 million. Viewership would remain steady until it dropped to 109 million viewers at 10:04 p.m. ET, around the two-minute warning.
Following the two-minute warning, the viewership picked back up to 115 million as the Chiefs had possession and were nearing the goal line to claim the lead with a minute and a half to spare. Viewership began to steadily decline at 10:10 p.m. following a defensive holding call on the Eagles, allowing the Chiefs to run down the clock and seemingly close the door on the Eagles clinching the Lombardi trophy.
At the end of the game, 113.6 million viewers were watching. By the time of the Lombardi trophy celebration, viewership stood at 75.9 million.
“Viewership was 20% higher than last year’s Super Bowl,” Rick McGuire, director of sales at AdImpact, said in a statement. “The combination of a close game and a younger-skewed halftime show, made for the perfect combination to keep viewers interest right to the final seconds.”