It seems not even the biggest Super Bowl blowout in more than two decades can get fans to turn away from the NFL's biggest game.
While official viewer totals are yet to be released, Fox Sports' Lou D'Ermilio announced on Twitter that the network saw a 47.6/70 share for the Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos:
Despite worst blowout since '93, #SB48 overnight is 47.6/70; ranks 5th all-time. Fast national coming this afternoon.— Lou D'Ermilio (@FOXSportsLouD) February 3, 2014
For those unfamiliar, that means roughly 47.6 percent of households across the United States that own a television were tuned into the Super Bowl. The second number represents the percentage of people who were watching television, meaning 70 percent of Americans were watching the Super Bowl during measured periods.
Nielsen, which measures television data from a subsect of selected households, compiles the share for the coveted 18-49 age range—those typically most sought-after by advertisers. As noted by Dominic Patten of Deadline.com, this was the lowest-measured rating for a Super Bowl since 2010, when the New Orleans Saints scored a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
These numbers are subject to change and often do as more markets report their totals. Down-to-the-wire finishes have kept Super Bowl ratings consistently booming, and there is no question that Seattle's blowout had many heading to the proverbial exits early with a workday coming on Monday.
D'Ermilio also had the share ratings for the highest local markets, and surprisingly neither Super Bowl participant took top honors. Instead, it was Denver's rival of Kansas City coming in with the top billing, with a 58.1/78 share, with Seattle coming in for a close second:
Top SB mrkts: KC 58.1/78; Sea 56.7/92; Indy 53.9/74; NO 53.2/72; Tulsa 52.9/71. Host NY 50.5, best NY rating for SB since 53.4 in '87.— Lou D'Ermilio (@FOXSportsLouD) February 3, 2014
Denver finished all the way back in 10th, as probably the market most affected by the final score:
Rest of Top 10 SB markets: 6) LV 52.5/75; 7) Portland 52.4/82; 8) Knoxville 52.3/68; 9) Jacksonville 52.0/68; 10) Denver 51.4/83.— Lou D'Ermilio (@FOXSportsLouD) February 3, 2014
Later on Monday it was revealed that the Super Bowl was the most-watched television program in US history (via Brian Stelter of CNN):
According to Nielsen data, more than 100 million people have watched the Super Bowl in each of the past four years, and Fox has extended that streak to five.
The massive viewership comes in spite of a game that failed to live up to the hype coming into Sunday.
The Seahawks led 22-0 at half and dominated the Broncos throughout. Peyton Manning, arguably the most famous football player on the planet, turned the ball over three times and was noticeably flustered by Seattle's swarming secondary. By the time Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown, it was clear Denver would not make a comeback the way San Francisco nearly did against Baltimore in 2013.
The final score tied the third-largest blowout in the Super Bowl's 48-year history.
Needless to say, the Super Bowl will almost certainly finish as the highest-watched program of the 2013-14 television cycle. In today's digital age, only the rarest events can get swarms of people huddled around a television for hours on end without use of DVR and other watch-later devices. It's the reason Fox was able to charge $4.5 million for a 30-second ad on Sunday and companies willfully paid more on expensive campaigns, per Aaron Smith of CNN Money.
That number was up from $4 million in 2013. With viewership continuing to fracture into further niches, a slight tapering off in viewership is unlikely to prevent advertisers paying even more next season.
The lesson: Even when the NFL is "losing," it stays winning.
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