TV Ratings: Super Bowl 50 steady with second-best overnight ever

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Broncos Win Super Bowl 50 Behind Dominant Defensive Performance

At this point, not setting a ratings record is essentially a disappointment for the Super Bowl. So Sunday's Denver-Carolina showdown, which aired on CBS, played out under a shroud of lofty expectations -- but initial returns show that it did not disappoint.

The first number for Super Bowl 50, based on Nielsen's metered markets, is a 49 rating and a massive 73 share among households. That's just off from last year's 49.7 rating. The 2015 overnight rating marked an all-time high for the Super Bowl, ultimately translating to an average 114.4 million viewers. It topped the previous year's game (111.5 million viewers) to become the most-watched telecast in U.S. TV history.

Working against Super Bowl 50 was the fact that it was a relatively low-scoring game. Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos ultimately topped the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in a pairing that was not nearly as year prior. But scores are not something that appear to affect the Super Bowl. 2014 set a record with an absurdly lopsided 43-8 victory for the Seattle Seahawks. It's one of several ways in which Super Bowl has proven itself immune to TV's trends of ratings fatigue. Even by its own lofty standards, and seemingly regardless of play, the biggest night of the U.S. TV calendar has consistently been outdoing itself in recent years.

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TV Ratings: Super Bowl 50 steady with second-best overnight ever
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Graham Gano #9 of the Carolina Panthers kicks off to start Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos gestures in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Andre Caldwell #12 of the Denver Broncos is tackled by Fozzy Whittaker #43 of the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Owen Daniels #81 of the Denver Broncos is tackled by Kurt Coleman #20 of the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Andre Caldwell #12 of the Denver Broncos makes a 22-yard catch as Tre Boston #33 of the Carolina Panthers tackles him in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Brandon McManus #8 of the Denver Broncos kicks a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Brandon McManus #8 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his team after kicking a first quarter field goal against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers attempts a pass against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthersâ Jonathan Stewart, left, runs around Denver Broncosâ Danny Trevathan during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs on the field against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs on the field against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthersâ Jerricho Cotchery (82) bobbles the ball for an incomplete pass during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Carolina Panthersâ Jerricho Cotchery (82) tries to catch a pass with Denver Broncosâ Darian Stewart (26) defending during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Carolina Panthersâ Jerricho Cotchery, right, fails to catch a pass under pressure by Denver Broncosâ Darian Stewart during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Jerricho Cotchery #82 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by Darian Stewart #26 of the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Von Miller (58) strips the ball from Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos recovered the ball for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers fumbles the ball in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The ball was recovered by Malik Jackson #97 of the Denver Broncos in the end zone for a touchdown. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Denver Bronco Von Miller watches a lose ball in the end zone during Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Malik Jackson (97) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) for a touchdown during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Denver Broncosâ Malik Jackson (97) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning, right, is sacked by Carolina Panthersâ Luke Kuechly (59) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers sacks Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos during the first quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The referee (R) watches as DeMarcus Ware (L) of the Denver Broncos has words with Michael Oher (C) of the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass during the first half of Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ted Ginn, Jr. (L) of the Carolina Panthers is taken down by Kayvon Webster (R) of the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to throw a pass in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthersâ Greg Olsen (88) pushes off Denver Broncosâ Danny Trevathan during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Carolina Panther Philly Brown (10) is fouled by Denver Bronco Aqib Talib(21) during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthersâ Jonathan Stewart (28) leaps for a touchdown during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Carolina Panthersâ Jonathan Stewart (28) scores a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning (18) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Carolina Panther Cam Newton (1) passes during Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Bronco Peyton Manning (18) tosses the ball during Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ C.J. Anderson (22) runs past Carolina Panthersâ Luke Kuechly (59) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) tries to throw with Denver Broncosâ Malik Jackson (97) defending during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos calls the play during Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Kony Ealy (#94) of the Carolina Panthers tumbles with the ball during Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Quaterback Peyton Manning (R) of the Denver Broncos and teammate Demaryius Thomas (L) await play against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ted Ginn, Jr. (R) of the Carolina Panthers is pursued by T.J. Ward (L) of the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Philly Brown (L) of the Carolina Panthers is pursued by T.J. Ward (C) and Aqib Talib (R) of the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ted Ginn, Jr. (R) of the Carolina Panthers is pursued by Aqib Talib (L) of the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning (18) loses the ball as he is hit by Carolina Panthersâ Kony Ealy (94) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Panthers recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Jerricho Cotchery (L) of the Carolina Panthers is pursued by Von Miller (R) of the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Brandon McManus (#8) of the Denver Broncos attempts a field goal during Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers fight for the ball during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Von Miller (58) strips the ball from Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: T.J. Ward #43 of the Denver Broncos recovers a fumble by Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning (18) and Michael Schofield (79) celebrate a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Denver Bronco C. J. Anderson (L) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. The Broncos won 24-10. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) sits on the bench during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Carolina Panthersâ Cam Newton (1) talks to Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning (18) after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Denver Broncosâ Peyton Manning (18) walks on the field after their win against the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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The halftime show is also often just as big of a draw as the game itself. Last year's performance, headlined by Katy Perry, reached 118.5 million live viewers -; only just shy of the audience surge during a pivotal turnover. Sunday's halftime show featured performances by Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyonce.

Read More: Critic's Notebook: Beyoncé Steals the Spotlight as Coldplay Leads a Solid Super Bowl Halftime


See how recent Super Bowls stacked up in both households ratings and total viewers:

2015: 49.7 rating, 114.4 million viewers
2014: 46.4 rating, 111.5 million viewers
2013: 48.1 rating, 108.4 million viewers
2012: 47.8 rating, 111.3 million viewers
2011: 47.9 rating, 111 million viewers

More details, including how many tens of millions tuned in and how post-game episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert performed, to come...

Read More: 50 Years of the Super Bowl: 17 Major Players Spill on Wardrobe Malfunctions, O.J. Simpson, Deflategate in THR's Oral History
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