Swift helps Super Bowl score most viewers since moonwalk

The presence of Taylor Swift, cheering on boyfriend Travis Kelce, brought new eyes to the Super Bowl.

The presence of Taylor Swift, cheering on boyfriend Travis Kelce, brought new eyes to the Super Bowl. Photo: Getty

The Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime defeat of the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, with Taylor Swift cheering from the stands, drew a record 123.7 million US viewers.

It was not only the largest viewing figures recorded in the 58-year-history of the Super Bowl, but also – according to data from ratings company Nielsen on Tuesday – the biggest US audience for any event since the first astronauts walked on the moon in 1969.

The NFL championship averaged 120.3 million viewers on CBS alone on Sunday, topping last year’s audience for the Super Bowl, which drew a record 115.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Additional viewers watched the game on kid-friendly Nickelodeon channels, the Spanish-language broadcast on Univision, and on streaming services including Paramount+ and NFL+.

The audience figure also includes those who watched in bars and restaurants.

CBS reported a slightly smaller audience of 123.4 million on Monday, relying on preliminary data.

The Chiefs won the game, the longest in Super bowl history, 25-22 in overtime.

“I was managing my expectations, but I had a bit of hope that it would happen,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said of overtime.

“I can’t imagine a Super Bowl any better or more exciting than this.”

By comparison, an estimated 125 million to 140 million people watched US astronauts take the first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969.

That event was shown on three broadcast networks, the only television channels at the time.

Sunday’s game featured a halftime performance by R&B superstar Usher, who was joined by Alicia Keys, H.E.R.,, Lil Jon and Ludacris.

Swift, who is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, was shown celebrating, chugging a drink and biting her nails during tense moments from a suite at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

“There were several factors driving unprecedented buzz for the big game, from the record-breaking ad spend to the Taylor Swift effect,” said Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Samba TV, a data and measurement firm that estimated the game was watched in 39 million homes.


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