As last night’s primetime coverage displayed even with the surprise silver in the short-track speedskating that John-Henry Krueger scored, both the medal count for America’s athletes and the ratings for the broadcaster are struggling to gain traction in the PyeongChang games.
Currently, Team USA is in sixth place with 10 overall medals, just behind the Russian competitors, and tied for third in gold medals with Canada’s haul of five. As for the Comcast-own broadcaster, the 2018 Olympics needs a miracle on ice or two to escape being the lowest rated and least watched games ever.
On the second Saturday of the South Korea-set competition, NBC and NBC Sports Network pulled in a 10.4/19 in metered market result for their joint primetime coverage. Down a hard 20% from the previous February 15 and February 16 lows of the 2018 Games, that’s the worst rating so far for PyeongChang coverage. It is also a drop of 32% from the melded NBC and NBCSN results of February 10, the first Saturday of these games.
On the flipside of sorts, last night’s primetime on NBC and NBCSN was up 0.9% from the equivalent NBC-only broadcast evening of the Sochi games back on February 15, 2014. Yet, when you compare just NBC’18 to NBC’14, last night was down 9% from the second Saturday of Sochi 2014, which was a low at the time for those games out of Russia.
Like last night that Saturday also faced Part 1 of the NBA All-Star weekend on TNT with the Slam Dunk contest. However, unlike last night’s rather lackluster affair out of L.A., the first night of the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend had some pizzazz. Additionally, there was some actual sporting competition on the Big 4 on Saturday as Fox had a steady Premier Boxing Champions (0.3/1) on last night too.
In the final numbers, the second Saturday of Sochi drew 17.1 million viewers. Which, to give some further perspective, was a 36% audience drop from the second Saturday of the XXI Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.
Right now, with an average viewership of almost 23 million a night on NBC, NBCSN and via streaming, the 2018 Winter Games have declined about 8% from Sochi 2014 at this point in the Olympic competition. If you put NBC against just NBC, the numbers are more of a 16% downturn for this first week of events out of PyeongChang.
You’ve heard us say it before and we’re saying it again: we’ll update with more Olympics numbers as the ratings results come in. For the meantime, here’s one more stat to chew on, last night’s primetime NBC and NBC SN coverage peaked at 9:45 – 10 PM ET with a 10.7/19 during the men’s short track event.