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Early Super Bowl ratings are down slightly, but the NFL and NBC - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Early Super Bowl ratings are down slightly, but the NFL and NBC are still winners

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The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off the victory over the New England Patriots in one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history, and a huge number of people tuned in to see it happen.

The game, which saw the Eagles bring home their first Super Bowl trophy, brought in an overnight rating of 47.4 rating for NBC.

To come up with the overnight rating, Nielsen takes the percentage of households watching in 56 US markets and comes up with an average -- so a 47.4 means Nielsen estimates that 47.4% of households in those 56 markets tuned into the big game on Sunday night. These numbers are ultimately preliminary, but do give a sense of what the final totals are likely to be.

The number is a tick down from the 48.4 overnight rating from last year's Super Bowl, which saw the Patriots come back to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Nielsen eventually estimated that 111.3 million people in the U.S. had watched that game.

Calculating the actual number of people who tuned in to a Super Bowl is always difficult, because the Super Bowl is unlike any other television event. The actual size of the audience is likely bigger than Nielsen's numbers portray, because Nielsen doesn't count those watching at bars, restaurants and Super Bowl parties.

Some people will likely see the 3% drop as an issue for the NFL, but it should more accurately be seen as a victory for the NFL and NBC, coming as it did after a season plagued by sluggish ratings, attacks from President Trump and injuries to some of the league's biggest stars.

The league saw its viewership dip roughly 10% overall this season. However, broadcast TV has seen its numbers shrink across the board this year as well.

Roughly 56% of homes in Philadelphia were tuned into the game while roughly 55% were in Boston. Surprisingly, the top city in terms of viewership was Buffalo with 56% of homes tuned in.

NBC also noted that the second half of the game out rated the first by roughly 8% and that the halftime show with Justin Timberlake brought in a 48.1 rating.

More detailed ratings data, including viewership, will be released later on Monday.

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