(UPDATED with final viewership data) A week into the PyeongChang Olympics and Team USA currently has nine medals, and for a moment it looked like Nathan Chen was poised to add to that collection last night in men’s figure skating.
Coming off an initially weaker than expected performance, the Salt Lake City native put some history on the ice at the XXIII Winter Games in NBC’s primetime as he pulled off a record five clean quadruple jumps and one more with a touch. In the end though, like the efforts of Lindsey Vonn in the women’s super-G ski event, it just wasn’t enough to make it to the podium.
In an Olympics that is down almost 8% overall from the XXII Winter Games of 2014 and looking to be heading towards an overall low despite its multi-platform efforts, NBC may be feeling a bit like that coming off the first Friday of official competition of the 2018 Games.
The final numbers for Friday night’s Olympic coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Network and digital platforms saw 19.2 million viewers watching in primetime. That’s exactly the same total audience delivery for the primetime results of Valentine’s Day and hence a match for an all-time 2018 games low.
Coming off a record-breaking primetime week for NBCSN of an average of 2.4 million viewers, last night’s multi-outlet and multi-platform performance was also the same as the comparable NBC-only broadcast night of the Sochi 2014 games. A low for the XXII Winter Olympics, that night just over four years ago topped Friday’s 8 – 11:23 PM viewership by 16% when you put NBC’14 up against NBC’18.
With a 13.0/23 in metered market results for NBC and NBC Sports Network’s primetime coverage, the net matched its low for the PyeongChang games. The combo of the Comcast-owned outlets slipped to the same rating in early numbers on February 15.
One sliver of silver is that the NBC/NBCSN metered market meld did top the comparable night results of the Sochi games from 2014 by 11% but was still behind Vancouver 2010.
It should be noted again that the Meredith Vieira hosted Valentine’s Day 2014 primetime coverage of the competition out of Russia was only shown on NBC itself. However, if you go NBC ’18 to NBC ’14, last night’s Mike Tirico fronted coverage took a small stumble of 4% from that Friday of just over four years ago when a number of potential viewers were clearly out for a romantic or hopefully romantic dinner.
Compared to the NBC-only primetime broadcast of the first Friday of official competition of the 2010 Winter Olympics out of Vancouver, last night’s NBC and NBCSN combined coverage dipped 3%. In a focus very telling of the changing media landscapes, a look at just NBC ’18 to NBC ’10 reveals a drop of 16%
It’s not really competitive apples to apples, but Hell, if we are talking stats, last night’s primetime Olympics show on the two NBCUniversal outlets unsurprisingly fell 23% from the Katie Couric co-hosted Opening Ceremony of February 9.
Hitting a low in official competition at that point, the first Friday of the Sochi 2014 games went on to score 19.2 million viewers for its NBC-only broadcast – which was basically what the February 14 and February 15 nights of the 2018 Games have achieved on NBC and NBCSN put together.
The Olympics weren’t without competition on Friday with Big Brother: Celebrity Edition (1.0/4) and the Season 3 finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (0.2/1). Both the CBS spinoff and the CW series were even with last week. Crazy Ex was also the same as its Season 2 ender of February 2, 2017.
Lastly, here is one more stat for you: last night’s primetime coverage hit a metered mark high of 14.8/25 and a viewership high of 21.9 million during the women’s skiing on NBC proper and the men’s free skate figure skating on NBCSN in the 10 – 10:15 PM ET slot.
Have a good long weekend America.