Scoring a bronze in the event during NBC’s primetime coverage, the much-medaled skier helped bring America’s medal count out of the XXIII Winter Olympics to 16, good for a fourth-place tie with the Netherlands. A much-profiled marquee name for these Games, Vonn’s efforts for herself, Team USA and her grandfather on the second Tuesday of the South Korea-set events also seemed to give NBC and NBC Sports Network a much-needed ratings boost over Sochi 2014 and Presidents Day 2018.
In an emotional post-race interview, @lindseyvonn says that this was her last Olympic downhill and she hopes she made her late grandfather proud. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/YtEpNzDMDu pic.twitter.com/vWhKp5NSGA
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 21, 2018
While down 9% from the near-heights of February 13 and Shaun White’s gold-medal run, last night’s combined coverage on the two Comcast-owned outlets pulled in a 13.9/23 in metered market results. That’s up 10% over the early numbers for the holiday Monday of February 19, which went on to score a total audience delivery of 18.6 million.
Perhaps more important to NBC — and certainly more valuable that skating commentator Johnny Weir’s weird and puerile slagging of Hungary’s Ivett Toth performing to rock gods AC/DC in the ladies’ short program — is that last night’s combo coverage is up 16% from the comparable night of the Sochi Olympics over four years ago, which was shown only on NBC.
In the total audience delivery of NBC, NBCSN and digital platforms, last night’s primetime hit an average of 20.5 million viewers. Yes, that’s down 9% in sets of eyeballs from the first Tuesday of the PyeongChang Game but challenging the usual narrative it is a rise of 8% from the second Tuesday of the Sochi 2014. NBC’18 to NBC’14, last night declined 7% from the comparable evening, which basically is steady with just over four years ago.
As the PyeongChang Games have slipped further behind Sochi over the past week and more, an TAD uptick will certainly bring a happy dance to the broadcaster and its advertisers, who paid big bucks for Olympic eyeballs.
Now, as others and I have pointed out, the comparison to Sochi 2014 is one NBC likes when it looks good and dismisses as old media metrics when it doesn’t. In last night’s case, it looks to be likes, as they say on social media, all round.
Not only is the live-across-all-time-zones XXIII Winter Olympics up from the much tape-delayed XXII Winter Olympics on the second Tuesday of competition on both NBC and NBCSN, but it also got a steady result NBC-to-NBC. Unlike almost all the past primetimes of these Games, the 12.0 of the NBC-only coverage of last night matches the February 18, 2014 metered market result.
That second Tuesday of the Sochi Olympics went on to deliver a total viewership of 18.9 million, the second lowest of the 2014 Games at the time.
ABC was the only other Big 4 net to be in the game, so to speak, last night with The Bachelor: Winter Games (0.9/3) and Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (0.4/2). Facing the Olympics again, the former was up 13% among adults 18-49 from its premiere of last week while the latter fell to a series low.
As we like to gift you every day of these Olympics, here’s one more stat: Last night’s NBC and NBCSN coverage peaked with 16.0/26 overnight during the 9:15-9:30 PM ET slot, with women’s alpine skiing on NBC and the women’s short program on cable.
Which means NBC should be sending its 2014 commentator Vonn a really nice gift today – just sayin’. And by the way, big congratulations to Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins today for bringing home America’s first ever cross-country skiing gold in the women’s team sprint freestyle race.
“Oh my gosh — did we just win the Olympics?!?!” 🥇🇺🇸✨ pic.twitter.com/jAqmGiWzsX
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 21, 2018
Yes you did.