OlympicsNBC‘s coverage of the first eight nights of the London Summer Olympics has set more viewership records. The network said each night including the Opening Ceremony last Friday has averaged 28.5 million viewers or more for the first time in the history of televised Summer Olympics (the first was Rome 1960). Additionally the overall eight-night average of 34.5 million viewers and 19.2 household rating through last night is the highest for the first eight nights of any non-U.S. Summer Olympics in 36 years, according to data provided by the Nielsen Co. and NBC.

Last night’s primetime coverage of competition Day 7 of the London Games on NBC (8:30-11:09 p.m. ET/PT) earned a 16.2/29 national rating/share and averaged 28.5 million viewers. Friday’s events that aired in primetime included Michael Phelps’ 21st career Olympic medal (gold in the 100-meter butterfly), Missy Franklin winning gold in the 200-meter backstroke, and Katie Ledecky winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle. The rating was 5% higher than the same night in Beijing (15.4/28) and 13% higher than in Athens (14.4/27)). Viewership was up 9% from the comparable night in Beijing (26.1 million) and up 20% from the comparable night in Athens (23.7 million), the last European Summer Olympics.

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NBC’s Olympics was up against repeats on all the other networks except ABC’s 20/20 newsmagazine from 9-11PM. ABC’s 20/20 started with 0.8/3 and 3.2 million viewers for the 9 PM half-hour, leveling off to 0.7/2 and 3.16 million viewers in the 10:30-11 PM half-hour.

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Separately, BBC’s hometown coverage of the Women’s 10K final Friday attracted 11.8 million viewers, the most for the competition days so far. Only Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony July 27 drew a larger audience for the BBC, averaging 22.4 million. Sport Online scored with 8 million UK browsers (a new UK record) and a record equaling 10.4 million browsers worldwide, breaking 10 million for the third day running.


Friday July 27 40.7 million
Saturday July 28 28.7 million
Sunday July 29 36.0 million
Monday July 30 31.6 million
Tuesday July 31 38.7 million
Wednesday August 1 30.8 million
Thursday August 2 36.8 million
Friday August 3 28.5 million