Written by Ethan Mort and Nate Schwartz

Approximately 115.5M viewers tuned into last night’s Super Bowl LVIII according to AdImpact estimates. The Kansas City Chiefs were victorious over the San Francisco 49ers, winning 25-22 in only the second overtime in Super Bowl history. Most viewers watched the game on linear television (59%), while 14% watched it on YouTube TV. Twenty-seven percent watched on other various streaming services. Advertising trends from the past continued as beer and sports betting commercials reigned supreme. Unlike past years, last night’s advertising saw an increase in electric vehicle (EV) ads and a notable absence of crypto spots.

Viewership spiked to 66.4M at the 6:30 PM ET kickoff. When 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey lost a fumble to end the opening drive, viewership stood at 89M. During the first commercial break, break viewers were greeted with the first teaser for Deadpool & Wolverine. The first sports betting commercial occurred during the third commercial break, as Tom Brady starred for BetMGM.  At the conclusion of a scoreless first quarter, 111M were watching.  Other prominent star-studded ads of the first quarter included Michelob Ultra starring Lionel Messi and Jason Sudeikis, a BMW EV spot starring Christopher Walken and Usher, and the greatly teased Arnold Schwarzenegger State Farm ad.

Viewership remained stagnant throughout the second quarter, as San Francisco built a 10-point lead. The first commercial break of the second quarter featured a Coors Light ad and the FanDuel “Kick of Destiny” ad, with a touching tribute to the late Carl Weathers. When the 49ers scored their first touchdown on a trick play, 111M viewers watched. Following the score, viewers were greeted with a star-studded Dunkin Donuts ad featuring Massachusetts-linked stars including Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, and Matt Damon. American Values PAC also aired a political ad supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent Presidential bid, inspired by a famous John F. Kennedy ad.  Super Bowl viewership peaked at 8:22 PM ET at 115.5M viewers, right before Usher took the stage for the Halftime show. Following the performance, CBS aired its annual “Paramount Mountain” ad touting their streaming service with the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Tua Tagovailoa, and Creed.

Viewership stood at 114M at the start of the third quarter. Following a Patrick Mahomes interception on the Chiefs’ opening drive, the 49ers had a 79% win expectancy. During the third quarter, Volkswagen aired an ad chronicling its history and included EV models in its conclusion. Towards the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs scored their first touchdown of the game, giving them their first lead. The ad break after this touchdown included ads from Pfizer and Bud Light.

Viewership slightly declined in the fourth quarter to 113M viewers, however, the game remained competitive with the score at 13-10. Prominent fourth-quarter ads included a Disney Plus ad featuring iconic quotes from their franchises and the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales ad. Viewership at the 2-minute warning stood at 112.2M. Within the last two minutes of regulation, the 49ers kicked a field goal to take the lead at 19-16, but the Chiefs sent the game into overtime with a game-tying field goal with five seconds left.

Overtime began at 10:17 PM ET with 114.4M still watching. The 49ers started the period with possession but were limited to a field goal. With the new overtime rules, the Chiefs would get one more opportunity to either tie or win the game. As the Chiefs' drive began, 112M were watching to see if the Chiefs could repeat as back-to-back Super Bowl champions. That feat was accomplished when 111M viewers watched as Patrick Mahomes threw the game-winning touchdown at 10:46 PM ET. Prominent ads that aired during overtime included a Discover ad starring Jennifer Coolidge and the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 4. Viewership exponentially dropped off to only 71M when the Chiefs lifted the Lombardi trophy.

Methodology: AdImpact acquires audience information by partnering with Inscape and utilizing its network of smart TV devices. This collaboration allows AdImpact to gauge live programming viewership based on data from the Smart TV panel. Don Norton, the General Manager of Data Solutions at AdImpact, highlights the strengths of this collaboration: "The extensive national coverage provided by Inscape, along with AdImpact's vast advertisement archive and unique forecasting system, offer unparalleled capabilities for almost instantaneous examination of activities across broadcast, cable, and streaming video."

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