CBS announced the ratings for the Denver Broncos' 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Monday afternoon.
According to CBS Sports PR, the game averaged 111.9 million viewers, with the peak coming between 8:30 and 9 p.m. ET, when 115.5 million viewers tuned in to the network.
CBS also provided an online live stream of Super Bowl 50, which attracted 3.96 million unique viewers—a new record—according to the network's press release, which cited Nielsen for the ratings.
The television ratings are a slight decline from last year's Super Bowl, which aired on NBC. Super Bowl 49 set a viewership record, with an average of 114.4 million fans tuning in and a peak of 120.8 million viewers, per Variety's Rick Kissell, citing Nielsen.
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch put Super Bowl 50's overall ratings in perspective:
Most-watched TV shows in US history:— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 8, 2016
1. Super Bowl 49: 114.4 million
2. Super Bowl 48: 112.2 million
3. Super Bowl 50: 111.9 million
Sean McManus, the head of CBS Sports, explained that the raw viewing numbers weren't his sole indicator of whether CBS' coverage was a success, per SportsBusiness Daily's John Ourand and Austin Karp: "The ratings are what they are. At this point in my career, I try to only worry about the things that I can control. And the things that could be controlled during yesterday’s telecast came out about as well as could be expected."
If anything, it's somewhat surprising this year's Super Bowl managed to be the third-most watched program ever. The game was generally sloppy and provided little in the way of excitement. The Broncos gained only 194 yards, the lowest total ever for a winning team, per Football Perspective's Chase Stuart.
Fox, which airs Super Bowl 51, will hope for a better spectacle on the field a year from now.