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Super Bowl 2014 Ratings: The Most Watched Ever

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Kicker Steven Hauschka (4) of the Seattle Seahawks kicks a 31 yard field goal during first quarter of Super Bowl …

How many people tuned in for one of the least exciting Super Bowls ever? The biggest audience ever: 111.5 million viewers.

From the flubbed coin toss to the abundance of lackluster commercials to the blowout action on the field, Super Bowl XLVIII won't go down as the best Super Bowl event we've watched, but more of us watched than any previous game in history.

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Despite early ratings estimates that indicated there were a significantly lower number of viewers tuning in for the Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 drubbing of the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium Sunday night, officialy ratings for the 2014 game were up 3 million viewers versus the 108.4 million for the 2013 tilt.

And Super Bowl XLVIII narrowly breaks the old viewership record — 111.3 million viewers — set with the 2012 game.

The record ratings come for a game that was the biggest score blowout since 1993, when the Dallas Cowboys trumped the Buffalo Bills 52-17. The final score for five of the last six Super Bowl games has seen the competitors a touchdown or less apart.

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In Super Bowl counter-programming, the big winner was PBS, with a new episode of “Downton Abbey.” The British drama, which has gone head-to-head with the Super Bowl for the last three years, averaged 6.8 million viewers to top all Super Bowl alternatives for the third consecutive year.

PBS promoted Sunday's new episodes of "Downton" and "Sherlock" with a "Which team are you on?" social-media blitz, generating tens of millions of Twitter impressions and letting non-sports fans know that there's more than just football to watch on Super Bowl Sunday. 


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