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Super Bowl just misses major-market TV-rating record

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The New York Giants’ 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Sunday night’s Super Bowl narrowly missed drawing the highest major-market television rating in National Football League history, Comcast Corp.’s NBC network said Monday.

The game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was seen in an average of 47.8 percent of households in the top 56 U.S. television markets. Last year’s NFL championship between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers drew a 47.9 major-market rating, which tied a 1987 title game between the Giants and Denver Broncos for the previous high.

Full national ratings are due later. Last year’s Super Bowl was seen by 111 million viewers, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history, beating the 1983 season finale of “M*A*S*H,” which was watched by 106 million people. It was also the fourth straight year of Super Bowl-record viewership.

Sunday’s game came down to a last-second heave from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady into the end zone. The ball bounced off of several hands before falling to the ground a few feet from diving New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The Giants’ Super Bowl victory, their fourth, in many ways mirrored their upset 17-14 win over New England in the 2008 title game, as Eli Manning led late-game touchdown drives in both contests.

The 2008 game had a television audience on News Corp.’s Fox of 97.4 million and a 43.1 national rating.

The average 30-second commercial during Sunday night’s game sold for $3.5 million, according to NBC.
 

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