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.
See photos from this year's Super Bowl:
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.
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...
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