Super Bowl sets ratings record — For the fourth time in five years, the Super Bowl has set a record for the most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing 111.5 million viewers even though the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos was not really competitive. The ratings record is further evidence of how live events are becoming dependable and valuable properties for broadcast television at a time the audience is fragmenting and ratings for regular entertainment shows continue to fall. The game also set standards for the most-streamed sports event online and, with 24.9 million tweets, the biggest U.S. live TV event on Twitter. The Seattle victory eclipsed the 111.3 million viewers who watched the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, according to the Nielsen company.
Skipper Spithill returns to cup champ — Skipper Jimmy Spithill has re-signed with two-time America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA. While Spithill’s announcement Monday wasn’t a surprise, the Australian tells The Associated Press he was offered jobs with other syndicates after leading Oracle Team USA’s stunning comeback over Emirates Team New Zealand in the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay in September. Oracle won eight straight races to keep the oldest trophy in international sports in the United States.
Olympic great Ian Thorpe in rehab — The manager of Olympic swimming great Ian Thorpe says the five-time gold medalist is in rehab after being found disoriented on a Sydney street early Monday morning by police responding to a call from residents. James Erskine told the Australian Associated Press that Thorpe was affected by a combination of antidepressants and the painkillers he was taking for a shoulder injury. Police spoke to Thorpe after residents near his parents’ home in Panania in Sydney’s southwest reported a man allegedly breaking into a van. He was taken to Sydney’s Bankstown Hospital for assessment and was later transferred to a rehab facility.
Safety of slipestyle course questioned — Four years after a luge athlete died on a training run in Vancouver on an Olympics course that had drawn widespread criticism, the Winter Games face another safety issue just days before the opening ceremony. Officials scrambled Monday to make changes to the slopestyle course here after a top snowboarder broke his collarbone in a crash and several athletes raised concerns about the safety of the course, including one who said, “It’s like jumping out of a building.” “It looks pretty sketchy,” Roope Tonteri, a snowboarder from Finland, told reporters after a training session at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, where slopestyle will make its Olympics debut. “I think they wanted to make big kickers and it’s not really good for riders and it’s not really safe anymore. I just don’t want to get injured. It’s not a really fun course to ride.” Torstein Horgmo of Norway, a medal contender in a sport that features a long downhill course of obstacles followed by a series of large jumps, crashed on the rail portion of the course. A team official, Thomas Harstad, said Horgmo landed on his face and shoulder and will be out of the Games. Men’s and women’s snowboarders discussed the course’s safety issues after Monday’s three-hour training session and proposed changes to the sport’s officials. “The last jump has a lot of impact on it, and the takeoff is really long,” said Charles Guldemond, a U.S. snowboarder. “Some of the guys and girls are intimidated. I felt like I was dropping out of the sky.” Roberto Moresi, the assistant snowboard race director, said officials would modify the course to make it safer. The course designer, Anders Forsell, said the training session “worked out fine.”
Beckham pushing MLS in Miami — Soccer legend David Beckham will take part in a news conference Wednesday to discuss his progress in trying to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Miami. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also will attend the session, which was announced Monday. The league has discussed placing its next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta. Among those who might become involved is Beckham’s friend and pro basketball superstar LeBron James, who has had recent conversations with the retired soccer star about bringing a team to Miami. “It’s looking very promising,” James said Monday. “Hopefully they can go in the right direction as we all planned. It’s a great place for soccer.”
— From wire reports