NEW YORK — An estimated 108.4 million people watched the Super Bowl, making it fall short of setting the fourth straight viewership record.
The Nielsen Company said Monday that the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers was the third most-viewed program in television history. Both the 2010 and 2011 games hit the 111 million mark.
Football viewership in general declined this year. But with a thrilling finish, this year's game did become the fourth Super Bowl to record more than 100 million viewers.
Nielsen earlier reported the game scored a 48.1 rating and 71 share in its select measurement of big cities. That's 1 percent over a similar measurement in last year's game.
For three years in a row, the Super Bowl has set a new record for most-watched event in U.S. television history.
One ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share means that 71 percent of TVs that were on at the time were tuned to the Super Bowl.
At CBS' request, that ratings figure did not include a 30-minute period when there was a partial power outage in the Superdome. During that period, the metered market rating was 46.5, nearly two full points behind the 45-minute period directly before it.
The network also drew criticism by the Parents Television Council for not moving quickly enough to edit out a profanity said by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco shortly after the game. Flacco was caught by microphones describing his team's victory as "f------ awesome."
The game also illustrated the explosive growth of second screen activity. The company Trendrr TV, which tracks activity on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, estimated there were 47.7 million social media posts during the game. That compares to 17 million during the 2012 Super Bowl and 3 million the year before that.
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