DETROIT (Reuters) - Super Bowl XLV scored with viewers, tying for the highest-rated National Football League championship game according to overnight television ratings released Monday by Fox.
The Green Bay Packers' 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers earned a 47.9 market rating in 56 metered U.S. markets, an increase of 3 percent over last year's game on CBS and tying it with Super Bowl XXI in 1987, according to News Corp's Fox.
A ratings point is a percentage of U.S. television households that watched the program.
Research firm Nielsen will release national ratings and viewer numbers for the game later Monday, but the early numbers suggest another record viewing audience may have been set.
Last year's Super Bowl victory by the New Orleans Saints over the Indianapolis Colts set the record for largest U.S. TV viewing audience at 106.5 million, which topped the 106 million who watched the finale of the comedy "M*A*S*H" in 1983.
The ratings for this year's Super Bowl capped a strong year for the U.S. sports league. The NFL's 2010 regular-season games were watched by a record 207.7 million unique viewers, according to Nielsen.
For the first time ever, an NFL game was the most-watched show among all programs in each of the season's 17 weeks, and league games accounted for the 19 most-watched TV shows among all programing last fall as well as 28 of the top 30.
This year's Super Bowl scored a 59.7 overnight rating in the Pittsburgh and Milwaukee markets, tied for the second-highest rating in a single market in Super Bowl history behind the 63 in Chicago for Super Bowl XX in 1986, Fox said.
In Dallas, the host market for this year's game, the overnight rating was 53.7, while it was 42.6 in New York, 40.1 in Los Angeles and 51.4 in Chicago, Fox said.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, editing by Matthew Lewis)