Super Bowl Sets All-Time US Viewing Record
Yet again, it's America's most-watched TV event ever
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2015 6:55 PM CST
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski kisses the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.   (Michael Conroy)

(Newser) – An estimated 114.4 million people watched New England's thrilling win over Seattle, making it the fifth time in six years that a Super Bowl game has set a record for the most-watched event in US television history. The viewership eclipses the 112.2 million who watched Seattle beat Denver in the 2014 game, the Nielsen company says. The game also set standards for social media. "Right now the NFL and the Super Bowl are defying media gravity," says Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports Group chairman. With the buildup involving the league's two top teams and a controversy over the inflation of footballs in the Patriots' conference championship, the game may have set another record even without the compelling finish, he says.

But that finish—a circus catch to put the Seahawks on the doorstep of a last-minute win and a game-saving interception by the Patriots' Malcolm Butler—kept viewers glued to the tube. An estimated 120.3 million people were watching during the last 10 minutes that the game was being shown, Nielsen says. Katy Perry has bragging rights, too: The singer's halftime performance was seen by 118.5 million people, the biggest audience ever for the halftime entertainment dating back to 1991, Nielsen says. Facebook says an estimated 65 million people conversed about the game on the social media site, more than any other Super Bowl and second only to two World Cup games last year for most talked-about events. There were some 265 million individual posts, comments, or likes, Facebook says.