The Super Bowl was the third most watched event in US television history, new figures have shown.

Data from Nielsen indicated a mammoth audience for the NFL finale, as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Miami.

A rain-swept and largely one-sided affair failed to dampen audience figures, with more than 93 million viewers tuning in.

The viewing figures mean the showpiece event, a traditional favourite in the US and beyond, was only behind the 1996 Super Bowl, when over 94 million tuned in, and the last episode of the series Mash in 1983, which boasted 106 million.

Last year's event between Pittsburgh and Seattle reached 90.7 million people.

Viewers tuning in to the 2007 final were treated to the three-hour sporting event as well as a spectacular half-time show featuring Prince.

The diminutive musician played a medley of hits, including covers of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown and a number of his own classics, which featured an appropriate choice in the shape of Purple Rain.

Veteran rocker Billy Joel opened proceedings with the national anthem, while there were even contributions from Cirque du Soleil at Dolphin Stadium in a typically glitzy show which looks to have proved popular with television audiences as well as those in the stadium.

06/02/2007 17:23:14