Super Bowl LVIII is officially the most-watched programme in US history

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and global superstar Taylor Swift celebrate with a kiss. Credit: AP

The longest Super Bowl game will also go down as the most-watched programme in US television history.

According to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics, Kansas City's 25-22 overtime victory over San Francisco on Sunday night averaged 123.4 million viewers across television and streaming platforms.

That shattered last year's mark of 115.1 million, and is a 7% increase.

The game was televised by CBS, Nickelodeon and Univision and streamed on Paramount+ as well as the NFL's digital platforms.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates his team's win. Credit: AP

Nielsen, an American data firm, also said a record 202.4 million watched at least part of the game across all networks, a 10% jump over last year's figure of 183.6 million.

The CBS broadcast averaged 120 million.

Some of the increase can be attributed to a change in the way viewers are counted - Nielsen began including out-of-home viewers in its ratings in 2020, but only from limited markets. That measurement expanded to all 50 states beginning this year.

This Super Bowl had the added attraction of Taylor Swift in attendance - the pop superstar is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, a romance that has brought new fans to the NFL.

Front Office Sports, a media organisation covering the business of sport, reported Swift has generated a “brand value” of $331.5 million (£264 million) for the Chiefs and the NFL.

Usher and Alicia Keys performed the famous Super Bowl half-time show. Credit: AP

Sunday's game was only the second of the 58 Super Bowls to go to overtime.

The previous one was in 2017, when New England rallied from a 28-3 deficit and beat Atlanta 34-28.

The figures are pulled into perspective when acknowledging American football's predominantly US-based audience.

2022's World Cup final between Argentina and France, hosted in Qatar, is estimated to have reached a global audience of 1.5 billion.

The most watched programme in UK history is the 1966 FIFA World Cup final between England and West Germany, which attracted 32.3 million viewers, closely followed by the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

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