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Super Bowl draws record U.S. viewers

PATRICK T. FALLON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE POP star Taylor Swift steals the show when she attended the Super Bowl to support her partner, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.

LAS VEGAS (AFP) — A record 123.4 million people tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl — with the added attraction of an Usher-headlined halftime show and the attention-stealing presence of Taylor Swift.

Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes found Mecole Hardman in the end zone deep into overtime to seal a dramatic 25-22 win in what was also the longest Super Bowl game in history.

The victory makes Kansas City the first team to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies since the New England Patriots in 2003-2004, cementing the franchise’s right to be regarded as the National Football League’s newest dynasty.

CBS parent company Paramount said in a statement that a total audience of 123.4 million across all platforms made it the “most-watched telecast in history” — up seven percent from last year’s game.

Paramount said 120 million people watched the NFL championship game on CBS alone, a record for a single US network.

The viewership total came in just behind that of the Apollo 11 mission’s 1969 lunar landing, which was seen by up to 150 million in the United States across the country’s three television networks at the time.

The Super Bowl viewership was boosted by a confluence of non-sporting star power, with Usher leading an all-star cast that included Ludacris, Alicia Keys and Jermaine Dupri for the halftime show.

Slow jam king Usher held his own as he captured the magic of his late-1990s, early-aughts fame with a 13-minute, career-spanning medley including hits like “Love In This Club” and “OMG.”

But pop superstar Taylor Swift didn’t sing a word and was still the night’s most-watched fan as she cheered on her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, from a luxury box with a coterie of famous friends including the rapper Ice Spice.

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