Fox Sports says its livestream of Super Bowl XLVIII, between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, was the most-viewed livestream of a single sporting event in the United States in history. The internet broadcast — the third time the Super Bowl has been streamed live by a major network — attracted an average audience of 528,000 viewers per minute.
Fox says the number of viewers per minute was an increase of 4 percent over the average audience of 508,000 that watched 2013's game on CBSSports.com, and a 52 percent increase over the 346,000 that caught 2012's competition on NBCSports.com. FOX also earned a Super Bowl record for online audience engagement, with users spending an average of 47.8 minutes watching the stream, compared to 38.1 minutes in 2013, and 37.4 minutes in 2012.
Most Americans chose to watch the game on TV
Fox's use of the "viewers per minute" statistic makes direct comparison with other streaming events difficult, who often use peak concurrent viewers to measure audience. This year's Super Bowl livestream's had a peak concurrent viewership of 1.1 million, recorded in the third quarter of the game. The figure is high in comparison with previous sporting examples such as YouTube's stream of the 2012 Olympics, which reached 500,000 people at once, but lags behind events such as Riot Games' League of Legends Season 3 World Championship, which earned a peak concurrent viewership of 8.5 million.
The figures also show that the vast majority of Americans chose to watch the game through traditional means. The average audience for the Super Bowl's livestream was less than half a percent of the average audience for the TV broadcast. That broadcast pulled in an average of 111.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched US TV broadcast ever — a number that spiked further during the halftime show, as 115.3 million people tuned in to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars perform.