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Official Super Bowl Numbers: Most Viewers and Ad Minutes

News Corp.'s headquarters in New York.
Mark Lennihan
News Corp.'s headquarters in New York.

Fox and advertisers who placed a $3 million bet on a 30 second Super Bowl spot are celebrating — last night's game was the most-viewed Super Bowl ever.

One hundred and eleven million Americans watched on average with 162.9 million people tuning in over the course of the game, another record.

This sets a new record for the biggest television event ever, after last year's Super Bowl, with 106.5 million viewers beat the prior record of 106 million viewers set by the series finale of M*A*S*H in 1983, according to Nielsen.

This year's game also included the most ad time ever — a full 48 minutes and ten seconds of ads, up twenty seconds from last year, according to Kantar Media. There are actually fewer spots this year — 96 to last year's 104 messages, but this year longer spots, like Chrysler's two minute "Imported From Detroit" spot threw off those numbers.

The Super Bowl has been on a record-setting streak — this is the fourth consecutive Super Bowl to set a viewership record, and no other major sporting event has ever hit a record high in four consecutive years.

Thanks to last night's stellar performance Fox is first place in adults 18-49 for the first time this season. And Fox can boast a series of new records — its most-watched prime time night ever and its highest ratings ever among the crucial 18 to 49 year old demographic.

Business of the Super Bowl - See Complete Coverage
Business of the Super Bowl - See Complete Coverage

The post-game show — Glee — posted thirty one percent *lower* ratings than last year's post-game "Undercover Boss" on CBS. But that was a reality show, and for a scripted show, "Glee" broke some serious ratings — the top rated scripted telecast in three years. And with 26.8 million viewers, it was Glee's highest-rated episode ever.

These huge ratings shouldn't be a surprise as they maintain the NFL's momentum from the season. Regular season games were watched by a record — nearly 208 million viewers.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.