Super Bowl LI was the first Super Bowl in history to have gone to overtime play, but that didn’t translate to a record. Sunday’s Big Game on Fox drew an average audience of 111.3 million people on its broadcast network, with an average streaming audience of 1.7 million and another 650,000 on Fox Deportes.
Last year’s Big Game, between the Carolina Panthers and eventual winners the Denver Broncos on CBS, pulled in 111.9 million viewers on the network — also shy of the previous year’s monster record of 114.4 million viewers on NBC — and an average streaming audience of 1.4 million.
It’s helpful to remember that at this point, the exact number of viewers for a given Super Bowl telecast is almost immaterial: The Super Bowl is the biggest event on television every year, and it is the only way for advertisers to simultaneously reach more than 100 million Americans (thus the exorbitant $5 million price tag just for 30 seconds of air time). Fox was also able to snag an extra $20 million for the spots that ran in the overtime period.
By the way New England won the game 34-28.