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Super Bowl 2013: TV ratings dip for blackout-plagued CBS game

February 04, 2013|By Scott Collins
  • Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the team's 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy… (Julio Cortez / Associated…)

Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII ratings were a little like the San Francisco 49ers' offense: Still powerful, but not quite at peak form. 

In a marathon game marred by an unprecedented 34-minute blackout at the Superdome in New Orleans, an average of 108.4 million total viewers tuned in to watch the Baltimore Ravens defeat the 49ers, 34-31, on CBS, according to Nielsen.

That was down 3% from last year's Super Bowl telecast, when 111.3 million tuned in. That event remains the No. 1 ratings champion in U.S. history. 

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Even so, Sunday's telecast was the No. 3 most-watched telecast ever. No. 2 is Super Bowl XLV, with 111 million.

San Francisco had been favored to win the game, but Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco set up a such a blistering scoring pace in the first half that the game threatened to become a blowout. After play resumed following the blackout early in the third quarter, a 49ers surge fell short and the Ravens held on for the win.

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Analysts are debating the role the blackout played in TV viewing. Some viewers may have flipped away from CBS for a few minutes during the downtime, which could have lowered the average audience figures. Also, the lengthy delay meant that the game did not end until about 11 p.m. on the East Coast, which may have further depressed viewing. 

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