Fox nabbed a huge audience Sunday night for Super Bowl XXXIX but early returns are down slightly from last year.
This year’s Super Bowl -- a tight contest that resulted in the New England Patriots defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 -- attracted 86.2 million viewers and a 41.1 household rating/62 share, according to preliminary Nielsen results.Those marks, however, are down from last year’s Patriots-Carolina Panthers game, which attracted 89.8 million viewers and a 41.4/64.
Fox last broadcast the Super Bowl in 2002, posting a 40.4 household rating. In the key 18-49 demographic, last night’s Patriots-Eagles game earned a 33.2.
Fox followed up the game with an episode of The Simpsons, pulling in a strong 11.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 23.1 million total viewers, the program’s largest audience since October 1993.
Jacksonville, Fla., the Super Bowl’s host city, ranked as the highest-rated local market with a 58.9/77. In Philadelphia, the game posted a 56/77 and Boston registered a 53.1/78.
The Super Bowl is typically the most-watched television program each year.