The overnight ratings for the Super Bowl are in and the 34-minute power outage didn’t wind up hurting CBS.
It actually appears to have helped them. Nielsen is reporting that the game posted a 48.1 rating and 71 share in its measurement of the biggest cities in the country, numbers that would make it the most watched event in American television history. One ratings point equals 1.147 million people — last year’s game did a 47.9 rating and was the previous record holder — and the share means that 71 percent of televisions turned on at the time were tuned into the game.
CBS asked Nielsen not to include ratings during the period when the power was out at the Superdome. The rating dropped to 46.5 during that period, according to the Associated Press, and including those numbers could have dropped the overall rating short of record level.
The game probably wouldn’t have reached those heights if not for the change in momentum that followed the lights going out in the Superdome in the third quarter. Whether that 49ers comeback was spurred by the delay or not is impossible to know, but it definitely represented the shift from what looked like a blowout to something much more compelling. The final half-hour of the game did a 52.4 rating and a 75 share and CBS also reported a spike in viewers watching the game online after the game resumed.
UPDATE 4:14 p.m. ET: According to SportsBusiness Daily, the official numbers are now out, and the audience actually was down from the last two years.