Last night’s NBC‘s primetime broadcast of the London Olympics featured featured Michael Phelps’ 22nd Olympic medal (gold in the 4×100-meter individual medley), drew 28.0 million viewers, the lowest to date for the current Games. Viewership was off 11.4% from the comparable night at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing (31.6 million). NBC noted that particular night included live coverage of Phelps winning his record eighth gold medal of the Beijing Games and Dara Torres at age 41 winning a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle. That same night in Beijing also covered Usain Bolt’s record-setting gold medal in the 100-meter. NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage (8:30-11:15 p.m. ET/PT) earned a 15.9/26 national rating/share, 17% higher than the comparable night at the 2004 Athens Olympics (13.6/28), the last European Olympics, but down from the comparable night in Beijing (17.8/32), the fourth highest-rated night of competition for those Games. Last night’s viewership was 24% higher than the comparable night at the 2004 Athens Olympics (22.5 million).
Through the first nine days, NBC’s coverage of the London Summer Olympics has reached nearly 195 million total viewers, averaging 33.9 million nightly primetime viewers and a household rating of 18.9/32. If the trend continues, the London Games is expected to become the most-watched event in U.S. television history, surpassing the high of 215 million viewers that tuned in for the Beijing Olympics. The 195 million total viewers is nearly 18 million more than Athens through the same period (176.9 million).
NBC’s daily average of 33.9 million viewers is the most of any non-U.S. Summer Games since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. It’s also 3.7 million more than Beijing (30.2 million) and 7.7 million more than Athens (26.2 million). The nine-night average household rating of 18.9/32 is the best for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The 18.9/32 is 9% higher than the first nine nights from Beijing (17.4/30), and 20% higher than the first nine nights from Athens (15.8/28), the last European Summer Olympics.
Separately, the BBC’s coverage of Mo Farah’s 10,000-meter gold medal triumph peaked at 17.1 million viewers across BBC One and BBC Olympics 1, the highest yet except for the Opening Ceremony’s 22.4 million. The climax of the Heptathlon attracted an audience of 16.3 million at its peak as Jess Ennis took the gold. For the Long Jump, 15.6 million tuned in at the peak when Greg Rutherford claimed Team Great Britain’s first gold in the category since 1964. BBC Sport Online yesterday attracted 7.4 million UK users and 9.6 million global.