The New England Patriots' heart-stopping 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl delivered the largest television audience in US history with an average of 114.4 million viewers, network NBC said.
Sunday's National Football League championship game in Glendale, Arizona, topped last year's record audience of 112.2 million live viewers on network Fox.
The figures compiled by Nielsen are fast national data and could be revised later.
Viewership peaked to 120.8 million between 9.45 and 10 pm EST (0245-0300 GMT) during the Patriots' game-winning fourth-quarter drive, Comcast Corp-owned NBC said.
Pop star Katy Perry's halftime performance with rapper Missy Elliott and rocker Lenny Kravitz also scored 118.5 million viewers, 3 million more than last year's show featuring singer Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Super Bowl is the most expensive TV program for advertisers, who were willing to pay up to $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial this year.
Nielsen revised down the Super Bowl's rating - the percentage of households watching the game on TV - to 47.5 from 49.7. That makes it the fourth-highest rated Super Bowl as measured in percentage of households since 1986.
The top TV market watching the Super Bowl was Boston with a 61 rating, NBC said. Seattle was tied for 17th with a 52.1 rating.
Next year's Super Bowl will be played in Santa Clara, California, and will be broadcast by network CBS.