NBC wraps up London Games with best Olympic audience since 1996

NBC finished with a 17.5 rating and 31.1 million viewers for its 17 nights of taped London Games prime-time coverage, marking the best audience for the Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games. The 17-night average was up 8 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from a 16.2 rating and 27.7 million viewers during the 2008 Beijing Games (see chart).

In terms of total viewership across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and Telemundo, the London Games drew 219.4 million viewers, up from 215 million four years ago and marking a record for a U.S. TV event. London also marked NBC’s best Olympics in terms of margin of victory over the other three major broadcast networks (dating back to the 1988 Calgary Winter Games).

Sunday night’s closing ceremony averaged a 17.0 rating and 31.0 million viewers, up 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, from Beijing.

PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGS
 
Day
London
Beijing
Athens
Sydney
Atlanta
Opening Ceremony
Fri.
21.0
18.8
14.6
16.2
23.6
Night 2
Sat.
15.8
13.9
11.8
13.1
17.2
Night 3
Sun.
19.8
18.1
15.4
14.6
22.9
Night 4
Mon.
18.0
17.6
16.6
13.8
22.9
Night 5
Tues.
21.8
20.0
18.3
15.5
27.2
Night 6
Wed.
17.9
16.7
17.3
14.6
22.4
Night 7
Thurs.
21.1
17.9
19.3
14.9
26.8
Night 8
Fri.
16.2
15.2
14.4
14.9
17.9
Night 9
Sat.
15.9
17.6
13.6
13.3
19.4
Night 10
Sun.
17.5
16.0
15.8
16.0
23.4
Night 11
Mon.
15.8
15.8
16.4
15.8
26.4
Night 12
Tues.
17.6
16.3
15.7
12.4
21.3
Night 13
Wed.
16.8
15.2
15.3
13.9
19.8
Night 14
Thurs.
13.6
13.8
13.8
14.0
20.7
Night 15
Fri.
13.2
10.5
12.5
10.6
16.1
Night 16
Sat.
12.6
10.2
11.1
10.5
15.8
Closing Ceremony
Sun.
17.0
15.5
11.9
10.8
21.8
17-Night Avg.
17.5
16.2
15.0
13.8
21.6

Weekend daytime telecasts up 14% over Beijing

NBC aired six weekend afternoon telecasts during the Games, averaging 12.1 million viewers, which was up 14 percent from similar coverage four years ago. The network also saw big gains for morning coverage, aided by this past Sunday’s gold-medal men’s basketball game.

Also boosting morning audience figures was coverage of Andy Murray’s victory over Roger Federer in the men’s gold-medal tennis match. That match on Aug. 5 from 9-10:30 a.m. averaged a 5.5 rating and 8.2 million viewers. Those figure are higher than any men's Grand Slam final telecast dating back to a 6.2 rating for the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi final in the 2002 U.S. Open. The Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova women's gold-medal match on Aug. 4 was also higher than any Grand Slam final dating back to a 6.1 rating for Venus Williams' win over Serena in the 2001 U.S. Open.

The U.S.-Spain basketball game averaged 12.5 million viewers, marking the most-viewed gold-medal game since the 2000 Sydney Games (16.3 million viewers). Sunday’s game was also up significantly from 6.0 million viewers for the same matchup four years ago. Early morning coverage on NBC averaged 5.7 million viewers, with no comparison to Beijing.

NBC WEEKEND NON-PRIMETIME AVERAGE OLYMPIC VIEWERS
DAYPART
LONDON (000)
BEIJING (000)
ATHENS (000)
Afternoon
12,100
10,600
9,500
Morning
10,500
8,000
6,000
Late night
6,200
5,500
5,300
Early morning
5,700
n/a
n/a

Cable audiences up 2% across NBC's Olympic platform

Olympic coverage across NBC Sports Network, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC averaged 716,000 viewers, up 2 percent from Beijing.

During its first time airing Olympic coverage, NBC Sports Network delivered its six top total-day audiences, and 11 of the top 12 days in NBCSN history came during the London Games. Coverage of seven U.S. men’s basketball games averaged 2.6 million viewers.

The network also saw a boost to MLS coverage, which aired following Olympic coverage on July 28 and Aug. 5. The Galaxy-FC Dallas match (392,000 viewers) and FC Dallas-Timbers (405,000 viewers) mark the network’s most-viewed MLS games to date.

Meanwhile, CNBC, which served as the home for boxing, averaged 449,000 viewers for coverage in the 5-8 p.m. ET slot during the Games, down 22 percent compared to boxing coverage in the same time slot during Beijing. However, CNBC's average during London marked the network’s best audience in that time period since the Vancouver Games, when CNBC featured coverage of curling. CNBC typically airs “Fast Money,” “Mad Money” and “The Kudlow Report” during that 5-8 p.m. period, which garners a much smaller audience.

Tennis coverage on Bravo averaged 484,000 viewers.

Salt Lake City is top U.S. market for seventh straight Olympics

Salt Lake City was the top-rated U.S. market for NBC’s prime-time coverage during the London Games, marking the seventh straight Olympics the city has been at the top of the list.

Salt Lake City averaged a 25.0 rating for London, up 8 percent from its average during Beijing. Denver tied Salt Lake City in 2008 for the lead among all markets, but finished ranked fourth for London. Denver’s 22.1 rating was down 4 percent from Beijing.

Kansas City ranked second for London with a 22.5 rating after not ranking in the top 10 for Beijing. Milwaukee, Norfolk, West Palm Beach and Richmond also made the top 10 after missing out four years ago. Two North Carolina markets — Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham — ranked last among all U.S. markets for London.

U.S. LOCAL MARKET RATINGS FOR
NBC'S PRIMETIME OLYMPIC COVERAGE
RK
MARKET
RAT.
RK
MARKET
RAT.
1
Salt Lake City
25.0
26t
Knoxville
18.2
2
K.C.
22.5
26t
Tulsa
18.2
3
Milwaukee
22.3
31t
Cleveland-Akron
18.1
4
Denver
22.1
31t
Jacksonville
18.1
5
Columbus (OH)
21.9
33t
Seattle-Tacoma
17.9
6
Norfolk
21.2
33t
Louisville
17.9
7
Indianapolis
20.9
35
Orlando-Daytona Beach
17.8
8t
San Diego
20.8
36
Cincinnati
17.7
8t
West Palm Beach
20.8
37
Philadelphia
17.6
10
Richmond
20.6
38
Dallas-Ft. Worth
17.4
11
Albuquerque-Santa Fe
20.3
39t
Detroit
17.3
12
Portland (OR)
20.0
39t
San Antonio
17.3
13
Minneapolis-St. Paul
19.9
41
Memphis
17.2
14
Oklahoma City
19.8
42
Baltimore
17.1
15t
Atlanta
19.7
43
Pittsburgh
16.9
15t
Austin
19.7
44
Boston
16.8
17t
S.F.-Oakland-San Jose
19.6
45t
Houston
16.7
17t
DC
19.6
45t
Hartford-New Haven
16.7
17t
Sacramento
19.6
47t
Birmingham
16.6
20
Nashville
19.4
47t
Buffalo
16.6
21
Ft. Myers-Naples
19.4
49
Las Vegas
16.5
22
St. Louis
19.0
50
Greenville-Spartanburg
16.2
23
L.A.
18.8
51
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
16.1
24
New Orleans
18.5
52t
Tampa-St. Petersburg
15.8
25
Greensboro
18.4
52t
Providence-New Bedford
15.8
26t
N.Y.
18.2
52t
Dayton
15.8
26t
Chicago
18.2
55
Raleigh-Durham
14.9
26t
Phoenix
18.2
56
Charlotte
13.9
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