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Los Angeles (AFP) – Seattle’s 43-8 blowout of Denver in Super Bowl 48 offered little in the way of suspense, but 111.5 million viewers made it the most-watched television event in U.S. history.

Ratings released by the Fox network on Monday showed Sunday’s game also set a record for the most-streamed online sports event, while a whopping 25.3 million related tweets composed by 5.6 million authors were logged before, during and after the contest.

The viewership for the Seahawks’ lopsided victory eclipsed the previous record 111.3 million viewers who watched the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, according to the Nielsen tracking service.

The NFL’s championship spectacular is always a big TV draw and, until ratings for last year’s game showed a slight decline, the Super Bowl had set viewership records for three straight years.

The half-time show headlined by hit singer Bruno Mars, with guests the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was also a record breaker with an estimated TV audience of 115.3 million.

That eclipsed the 110.8 million who watched Beyonce last year, as well as the previous record of 114.0 million set by Madonna two years ago.

In its statement regarding the ratings, Fox concluded that interest in the game was piqued by the fact that it was the first Super Bowl to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather location — and that it was played in the New York metropolitan area, a massive media market.

Even though the Broncos didn’t manage to score until the end of the third quarter, viewership climbed through the first half.

“Viewership remained impressively high through the fourth quarter despite the fact that Seattle had the game well in hand,” a Fox statement said.

Fox said the most active moments on social media during the game were when Seattle’s Percy Harvin returned the second half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown (429,000 tweets), the conclusion of the half-time show (424,000 tweets) and Most Valuable Player Malcolm Smith’s second-quarter interception return for a touchdown (300,000 tweets).

Photo: Timothy A. Clary via AFP

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