Super Bowl XLV, which aired on Fox on Sunday, attracted 111 million viewers in 53.3 million households, making it the most-watched television program of all time, Nielsen said Monday.
The game broke the record held by last year's Super Bowl, which boasted an average audience of 106.5 million viewers. The two most recent Super Bowls and 1983's final M*A*S*H episode are the only broadcasts ever to break the 100-million mark for average audience, according to Nielsen.
The game's popularity also reflects an upswing in National Football League viewership. The average NFL game this year attracted 24% more TV viewers than the average game five years ago, according to Pat McDonough, a senior vice president at Nielsen.
"Super Bowl XLV caps what is arguably the most successful season that any sports league has ever had," McDonough said in a statement.
The broadcast also marks continued success for News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox Broadcasting Network. The company last week said its fiscal second quarter earnings more than doubled from a year earlier, in part because of higher advertising revenue for its television stations.
Unsurprisingly, the Super Bowl game pitting the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers was most popular in Milwaukee and in Pittsburgh, where it brought in ratings of 59.7 and a share of 85 and 87, respectively, according to Nielsen. (Ratings measure the percentage of households watching a show, while a share is the percentage of turned-on TV sets that are tuned in to the show.)