The most decorated Olympian won his 27th medal yesterday but it wasn’t a gold for Michael Phelps. In a three-way tie for second in the men’s 100-meter butterfly, the American snagged the silver, sharing it with South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.
With the fifth gold and new record for Katie Ledecky, strong qualifiers for the already iconic Simone Manuel, more swimming and some track and field in NBC’s primetime package last night, it was a silver for the Comcast-owned net as well. Or to put it bluntly, the second worst result for NBC’s primetime Rio Games so far.
In early numbers, and against a striking out MLB Baseball (0.5/2) on Fox and preseason NFL games on local stations on the other nets, Day 7 of 8 – 11 PM coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad pulled in a 6.3/25 rating among adults 18-49 and 23.9 million viewers. Now while there could be significant adjustments later, right now only the August 6 numbers were lower for Rio 2016.
Week-to-week, last night was down 18% in the key demo and 10% in audience from the fast affiliates of the Opening Ceremony of August 5 – that tape delayed and panned samba rich spectacle went down to a 7.5/30 in the final numbers for the 8-11 PM portion of its coverage. Compared to the comparable day of the record breaking London 2012 Games, Rio’ second Friday was down 28% among the 18-49s and 16% in viewers.
Coming off a Day 6 fueled by wins by Manuel, Phelps and Simon Biles and Aly Raisman in gymnastics, last night also took a 30% hit in the demo and 24% in total viewers, fast affiliates-to-fast affiliates. Thursday’s numbers were later adjusted up a tenth, which has been the standard this Olympics if any change whatsoever occurs, to a 9.1 rating and 31.22 million viewers.
Being that Saturday will see what could be Phelps’ last Olympics swim ever, NBC could pull off a win tonight or hit the weekend doldrums – either way, as has been said probably too many times these Games, blame it on Rio.