How big is pro football on TV these days? So big that even a boring, lopsided Super Bowl sets ratings records.

Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox was watched by an average audience of 111.5 million people, more than any television program in U.S. history. The record was set, despite the fact that the Seattle Seahawks had things well in hand by halftime and blew past the Denver Bronocos, 43-8, to post the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl in 21 years.

The audience for Seattle-Denver barely surpasses the previous mark of 111.3 million set by a much more closely contested Super Bowl XLVI (New York Giants-New England Patriots) on NBC.

Three of the last four Super Bowls have set average viewership records.

Interest in the game, the first Super Bowl ever played in an outdoor, cold-weather location, and the nation's No. 1 media market, was unprecedented. The rating at kickoff, 44.5 (70 share), ranks as the highest on record, and was 12 percent over the kickoff rating a year ago. That suggests that a more competitive game would have resulted in even higher viewership.

Ratings climbed through the first half and peaked at a 47.9/71 from 7:30-8 p.m. ET as Seattle established a commanding 22-0 halftime lead. Viewership remained high through the fourth quarter despite the fact that the outcome was not in doubt. The game earned a 44.0/63 from 9:30 p.m. to its conclusion, meaning that even in the closing minutes the rating was only 5 percent lower than it was for the entire game.

The record-breaking trend also extended to the halftime show, with 115.3 million viewers watching Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform. That figure surpasses the 110.8 million delivered by Beyonce last year and the prior record of 114.0 million set by Madonna.

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