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Recently I got into a discussion with an American friend about various (e-)sports viewership numbers and we looked up various big sporting events.

Seeing the last Superbowl ranked at an average viewership of 111 million US citizens felt very much inflated, so I did some research and apparently TV ratings are a lot trickier than e-sport ratings where most streaming websites show their concurrent unique and total viewership.

Wikipedia lists USA Today as its source where it states 70% of all household TVs tuned in to Superbowl according to Nielsen. Fox itself, on the same page, claims 113 million (with streams) so these numbers are relatively close.

I also looked up how many TVs are present and on average in the US Nielsen estimates that there are 118 million TVs. 70% of 118 million is not 111 million so I assume 'viewership' has a very specific meaning.

So how did they (Nielsen, Fox) arrive at this viewership number (111 million) and, if it's inflated, what would be a more reasonable amount of unique viewers that tuned in to the Superbowl (2017)

  • This is really too broad and, probably covered by movies.stackexchange.com/questions/19923/… – Paulie_D Mar 20 '17 at 17:23
  • I feel like the linked answer is too vague regarding actual numbers. Just naming various methods of sampling does not give any insight into how they reached these numbers. Someone in the tv production business might give more details for example how Fox derives its viewership. – Rohan Mar 20 '17 at 17:40
  • Why do you think the numbers are inflated? Also you're mixing up TVs with viewers in one paragraph. 70% of 118 is not 111 .... but in many households more than one person is watching a single TV. – iandotkelly Mar 20 '17 at 22:19
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because questions about sports are off topic. Please see movies.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic for more information. – Catija Mar 20 '17 at 22:39
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    @Catija That being said, though, it's not exactly about sports either. It's much more a question about audience measurement and TV broadcasting. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 21 '17 at 15:05

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