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Despite blowout game, Super Bowl breaks American TV ratings record

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes before being tackled by defensive end Clinton McDonald (69) in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Feb. 2, 2014.

BARTON SILVERMAN/NYT

Despite showcasing the biggest blowout in two decades, Sunday night's Super Bowl was the most-watched broadcast in American television history.

According to final ratings from Fox Sports, Super Bowl XLVIII drew a remarkable audience of 111.5-million U.S. viewers, which officially makes the game the highest-rated U.S. telecast of all time.

The previous U.S. ratings champion was the Super Bowl XLVI in 2011, which garnered 111.3-million viewers.

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The fact that the game's result was decided early in the 43-8 victory by the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos had some experts predicting that Super Bowl ratings would take a nosedive.

In becoming the new ratings champion, Super Bowl XLVIII has set a new ratings plateau: The previous five Super Bowls are now the five most-watched programs in U.S. broadcast history (the long-ago champion, the 1983 finale episode of M*A*S*H now moves to sixth place).

And as much as American viewers love football, it appears they love Bruno Mars even more: Sunday's halftime show also set a record with 115.3-million viewers watching Mars perform with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The halftime ratings record trumps the 110.8-million viewers for Beyonce's performance last year and the previous record of 114.0-million viewers set by Madonna two years ago.

On Canadian television, Sunday's Super Bowl game drew an average audience of eight-million viewers from the simulcast on CTV (7.3-million viewers) and French-language broadcaster RDS (610,000 viewers).

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