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Super Bowl spins its Web

Giants fullback Henry Hynoski, right, celebrates with a

Giants fullback Henry Hynoski, right, celebrates with a teammate after defeating the Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI. (Feb. 5, 2012) Credit: AP

Lost amid the boffo television ratings news out of Super Bowl XLVI was a milestone in live sports on the Internet.

For the first time, the big game was streamed live – on both NFL.com and NBCSports.com – and attracted just over 2.1 million users, making it the most-watched single-game sports event in Internet history.

The facts that the TV version set an American record by averaging 111.3 million viewers, and that the 47 percent of homes that watched was the highest such figure in 26 years, are key points within the industry.

That is because they should dispel fears live streaming will cannibalize the TV audience, at least for now.

“Increasingly, sports fans are looking to digital coverage as a complementary, ‘second screen’ experience,” Kevin Monaghan, an NBC senior VP, said in a news release.

NBC said users generated more than 1.8 million camera switches, one of several interactive elements, and averaged more than 39 minutes per visit.

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