NBC's coverage of the London Olympics continues to draw awesome ratings. Every night of the games on NBC has drawn at least 28 million viewers, and the network drew five straight nights of 30 million from Sunday to Thursday this past week. Including the 40 million drawn for the opening ceremonies, these Olympics have drawn more 30 million viewer nights than the entirety of the games in Athens and Beijing.
The network's average of a mind-blowing 34.5 million viewers is the most of any non-US games since Montreal in 1976, and the average is up 14.6% from Beijing and 29.7% from Athens. The overall ratings for the games are up 10% from Beijing and 20% from Athens. The total viewership across all of the NBC Universal networks is at 198 million. In comparison, Beijing had a total of 215 million viewers across the games.
Even without airing swimming (and now, track) live on TV, the daytime ratings for NBC are startingly up as well. The network is drawing a 7.7 during the day, which is up 31% compared to Beijing and 38% compared to Athens. Even the late night broadcasts are up, drawing the highest ratings for a non-US Olympics since Seoul in 1988. The late night broadcasts are averaging 6.9 million viewers, up 28% on Beijing and 30% on Athens.
And just think: NBC is having a ratings bonanza even with people complaining nonstop about not putting swimming and other prime events live on the NBC Universal networks, instead saving them for primetime and making viewers stream the events online. The suits at NBC must be thrilled that they control the rights for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, only an hour ahead of the eastern time zone. The network will be able to air key events live in primetime on their network, and are probably expecting an even bigger ratings jump.
Oh, and how about that streaming service at NBCOlympics.com that has gotten so much vitriol towards it due to endless buffering? Well, the site has drawn 1.1 billion (that's billion, with a B) pageviews since the beginning of the games, with viewers averaging 27 minutes per visit, more than twice that of Beijing. That 1.1 billion has also nearly surpassed the total from the entire Beijing games (1.2 billion), and the total streams viewed (102.6 million) has already crushed the total from Beijing (75.5 million). Live streams this year (45 million) have seen more than triple the amount of views as Beijing (14 million) as well. Those are some pretty crazy numbers overall.
Perhaps most interesting in the release from NBC is this tidbit - the most-viewed athlete on the site is reigning gymnastics queen Gabby Douglas with 18.27 million views, more than double those of Michael Phelps (7.04 million). The top five is rounded out with three other US gymnasts: McKayla Maroney (6.04 million), Jordan Wieber (5.94 million), and Aly Raisman (3.01 million). The only non-American ranking in the top ten is sprinter Usain Bolt, with 2.33 million views... pretty remarkable considering that Bolt ran in his first final on Sunday.
So take solace Olympics fans, because in four years, there should be less controversy about tape-delayed events airing on NBC. Considering that London's five hour time difference is the *shortest* of the last four Olympic games in comparison to the east coast, I'm sure fans across the country will be giddy when Rio comes along in four years. It'll be an upset of enormous proportions if ratings don't shoot up again.