Super Bowl Ratings: Big Game Down From Record Setting 2008

Preliminary Fast Nationals show 29.9 rating/61 demo share for Arizona Cardinals-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup

Super Bowl 43 dominated Sunday night as expected, but according to preliminary Nielsen Fast Nationals, the game was down slightly from last year's record-setting installment.

NBC averaged a 29.9 rating/61 share in the 18-49 demo, with nearly 78.9 million viewers P2+. The numbers are likely to get a boost once time zone adjusted national data becomes available.

The 2009 Super Bowl saw the Arizona Cardinals facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, two small market teams on football's biggest stage. That is a stark contrast to last year's game, which featured the New York Giants upsetting the heavily favored and undefeated New England Patriots. The 2008 Super Bowl was the most watched game ever, according to Nielsen, with 97.5 million viewers watching on average.

Competition from the other broadcast networks was unsurprisingly weak, with all running reruns except ABC, which counterprogrammed with a new edition of Wipeout against the halftime show and post-game edition of The Office.

Wipeout drew a 1.4 rating/3 share in both the 8-9 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. hours. Reruns of Family Guy and American Dad on Fox drew a 1.7/3 and 1.5/3 respectively.

NBC scheduled a one-hour post-Super Bowl edition of The Office, which began at approximately 10:40 p.m. Early data has it up slightly over last year's post Super Bowl edition of House. More accurate ratings on that episode will be available later.