NBC’s opening ceremony coverage ratings tank to all time low

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

NBC’s coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, delivered an all time low for the proceedings.

NBC’s initial data shows an average of just 16 million viewers watched the opening ceremony across all platforms, which is down a whopping 43% since PyeongChang in 2018, which attracted 28.3 million viewers.

According to preliminary numbers, 14 million of those 2022 viewers were on television, with the rest estimated to be from other platforms.

NBC aired the ceremony live on its broadcast network, Telemundo and streamer Peacock and then repeated it in primetime that night, which only managed about 7.39 million viewers from 8 p.m. to midnight eastern.

Beijing’s 2022 performance represents the lowest rated Olympics opening ceremony since 1988 in Calgary, Canada, and the beginning of NBC’s multi-billion dollar deals with the IOC (NBC didn’t have exclusive rights to both Summer and Winter Olympics until 2002).

The ratings slide is likely based on a variety of factors: general viewership declines, the early morning start time of the live broadcast, lower ratings in general for Winter Olympics as well as Olympics as a whole, sensitive diplomatic issues between the U.S. and China and the fact the 2020 Summer Olympics from Tokyo aired just about six months ago in the summer of 2021 after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic may have created a lack of interest in “another” Olympics.

The rebroadcast may have suffered thanks to word of mouth from those who watched earlier.

NBC is also coming off dismal ratings for its first night of primetime competition, managing just 7.4 million viewers, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2022, which was qualifiers for events including the typically popular figure skating.