Before Super Bowl 46, we predicted NBC’s live stream of the game would receive somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million viewers. In truth, the Super Bowl live stream notched over 2 million hits, exceeding our expectations. Continuing an upward trend, CBS‘ live stream of Super Bowl 47 reached more than 3 million unique viewers, a 43 percent increase over the previous year.

While the vast majority of Super Bowl watchers continued to view the game on their TVs, the increased online presence is a telling sign of the big game’s profitability on the Internet. For perspective, Red Bull Stratos‘ record shattering live stream event drew 8 million concurrent viewers for an event only found online; when you consider how easily accessible the Super Bowl’s network TV broadcast was,‘s high-volume live feed was truly impressive.

The CBS live stream reportedly received more than 10 million total views as fans accessed the game online for a total of 114.4 minutes. The Super Bowl also received more than 52 million mentions on social media, which is easy to understand when you consider that there was a blackout and Beyonce kicked ass.

One wonders if live streaming sports events will soon have a greater presence on the Internet. Many network, such as ESPN, offer plenty of games through online applications, but second-tier leagues may soon realize that Internet-only broadcasting offers a very cost-effective solution. I can see it now: jai alai, on YouTube, with commentators Philip DeFranco and Annoying Orange. Make it happen, world.

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