(UPDATED with final numbers) The lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony is behind us and now the real competition heats ups in PyeongChang but right now NBC is aiming for a rating silver and a viewership bronze.
Garnering a 13.8 in metered market results for Saturday’s primetime coverage of the official Day 1 of the XXIII Winter Olympics, the network was down just over 9% from the first day of Sochi just over four years ago. That February 8, 2014 night of tape-delayed coverage was even with the first official day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics back in 2010.
With the overall viewership numbers just in, last night’s Day 1 coverage on NBC snared an audience of 21.4 million from 8 – 11:10 PM ET. That’s down 15% from what the first day of Sochi delivered four years ago and a drop of 20% from the first official day of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Of course, with simultaneous coverage this year for the first time on both NBC and NBC Sports Network, the Comcast-owned outlet is bundling the numbers and looking for the uptick.
Full of tape delayed skating and snowboarding, the viewership on the two NBC outlets was 23.9 million. Add streaming figures and the total audience delivery for last night’s coverage shuffles up to 24.2 million. With a single day record of 141.1 million live steams on 2.4 million unique devices for the NBCUniversal’s digital unit, that’s up from the first Saturday of the Rio Games of 2016 but still down from the 25.1 million Sochi had on its first Saturday on NBC alone.
Last night’s melded metered market for NBC and NBCSN was a 15.2 – a match with the broadcast net’s Sochi Day 1 offerings on just NBC. The net is also crowing about the huge margin by which they are beating ABC, CBS and Fox put together – but let’s be clear, even with NBA coverage on the Disney-owned net, it is not really a competitive situation.
NBC apples to NBC apples and with the increased streaming options now available, this is the third day in a row that the politically charged Winter Olympics out of South Korea have taken a stumble from the tense games from Russia four years ago. Games, it is well worth adding, that ended up being lowest rated Olympics ever. Games that were also so juiced in performance enhancing drugs among the host nation that Vladimir Putin’s country was officially kicked out of this year’s Olympics.
Though he may have let a few choice words fly when he discovered he’s won America’ first gold medal yesterday in the men’s slopestyle, 17-year snowboarded Red Gerard is far from anything but embraced in this year’s Olympics.
Along with snowboarding, last night’s live across all time zones primetime coverage also saw skating as two-time Olympic ice dance medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and Team USA’s Bradie Tennell strutted their stuff. The Mike Tirico led NBC programming additionally included more from skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who were being kinder than usual on Saturday but still skate sharp.
In non-adjusted fast affiliates, last night’s Olympics coverage drew a 4.5/18 rating among adults 18-49 and 19.78 million viewers. That’s down 27% in the demo from the fast affiliates for Sochi’s first day, which preliminarily had 25.03 million viewers. As always, fast affiliates are a rough indicator at best with sporting events like Olympics coverage – even more so this year as NBC is showing its primetime show live across the nation and the early demo numbers leave out the West Coast.
On another metric, here are the top metered markets for Day 1 primetime coverage of the XXIII Winter Olympics on the combo NBC/NBCSN:
1. Salt Lake City 24.5/46
2. Denver 22.7/40
3. Seattle 21.4/4
4. San Diego 21.3/43
5. Kansas City 20.3/33
6. Sacramento 20.3/38
7. Portland 20.0/39
8. Milwaukee 19.9/34
9. Tulsa 19.7/27
10. Los Angeles 19.6/38
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