Super Bowl LI Beats Goodbye, Farewell and Amen


Although Super Bowl LI failed to beat the viewership record set by Super Bowl XLIX in 2014, last week’s big game did top “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” by almost nine million viewers. That means the series finale is now the ninth most-watched television broadcast in United States history. Ever since Super Bowl XLIV topped “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” back in 2010, it’s become routine every year to see the finale pushed down another slot on the most-watched list.

Most-Watched Television Broadcasts in U.S. History

## Program Year Average Viewers
1. Super Bowl XLIX 2015 114,442,000
2. Super Bowl XLVIII 2014 112,191,000
3. Super Bowl 50 2016 111,864,000
4. Super Bowl XLVI 2012 111,346,000
5. Super Bowl LI 2017 111,317,000
6. Super Bowl XLV 2011 111,010,000
7. Super Bowl XLVII 2013 108,693,000
8. Super Bowl XLIV 2010 106,476,000
9. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” 1983 105,970,000
10. Super Bowl XLIII 2009 98,732,000

It’s also become routine to point out that “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” remains by far the highest-rated television broadcast of all time with a 60.2 Nielsen rating. By comparison, Super Bowl LI averaged a 45.3 rating. Even the highest-rated Super Bowl ever (Super Bowl XVI, 1982) could only muster a 49.1 rating.

It took 27 years for “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to be dethroned in terms of viewers. M*A*S*H will likely hold on to its highest-rated record forever.

I’ve revised my Goodbye, Farewell and Amen Ratings Analysis with information about Super Bowl LI.

5 Replies to “Super Bowl LI Beats Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

  1. This is simply due to population growth. The 60.2 rating / 77 share will probably be a record forever, because that normalizes for population.

  2. Not really a big surprise. It’s important to not that “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” is the only non Superbowl event up there.

  3. The commercials during mash were aimed at older viewers compared to the super bowl. The box office for movies and Broadway was down due to this. The higher share was also during an era where cable t.v. was in its infancy and cutting into broadcast territory. The super bowl that broadcast before it was the highest rated before mash broke the record. In California, there were power outages that forced cbs affiliates in certain towns to re air the program weeks after it was on. I wonder how many people watched it globally .

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