NBC's Record Olympics Viewership Extended to All Dayparts and Networks


By now, everyone is aware that the just completed NBC
telecast of the London Games was the most-watched TV event in history, with the
primetime numbers each night getting lots of play. But what hasn't received as much
ink is how the daytime coverage on NBC and the NBCUniversal-owned cable networks
did in terms of viewership. And from an advertiser perspective, marketers who
had ads in those telecasts have to be equally pleased as the primetime folks.

NBC's weekday daytime show, cohosted by Al Michaels and Dan
Patrick, set numerous viewership records, starting with it being the
most-watched daytime show in the history of non-U.S. Summer Olympics coverage.

The average weekday viewership for 10 telecasts was 7.1
million and every weekday NBC daytime show from the London Games topped the
viewership of the comparable day during Beijing Games coverage in 2008.
Viewership of the London Games on NBC daytime was 34% higher than average viewership
from the Beijing Games-7.1 million vs. 5.4 million. The next closest non-U.S. Summer
Olympics daytime viewership was during the 1992 Games from Barcelona, when the
average audience hit 5.9 million.

The six weekend-afternoon telecasts on NBC during the London
Games averaged 12.1 million viewers, up 14% from the weekend afternoon NBC
coverage from Beijing (10.6 million).

The six weekend-morning telecasts on NBC averaged 10.5
million viewers, up 31% from Beijing (8 million). Five early morning weekend
telecasts on NBC average 5.7 million viewers (there was no early morning
coverage during prior Olympics).

Some other NBC daytime weekend ratings highlights:

  • The USA men's basketball team's gold medal game vs. Spain
    drew 12.5 million viewers, the most-watched gold medal basketball game since
    the 2000 Sydney Games (16.3 million), and more than double the viewership of
    the gold medal game telecast from Beijing (6 million.)
  • The live Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova gold medal tennis match from 9-10:30
    a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4 that resulted in a Williams victory drew 7.9 million
  • The live men's gold medal tennis match between Andy Murray and Roger Federer
    drew 8.2 million viewers.
  • In late-night, the 15 shows on NBC drew 6.2 million viewers, up 13% from
    the Beijing Games (5.5 million).

The Olympics coverage on the other NBCUniversal networks-NBC
Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo-averaged 716,000 viewers per telecast, up
2% from the Beijing Games. However, their total audience of 82.4 million
viewers for the duration of the Games was 160% more than the 31.7 million
viewers the networks cumulatively reached during their regularly scheduled
programming from the comparable two weeks last year.

NBC Sports Network set multiple viewership records during
the London Games telecasts. They include:

  • Team USA women's gold medal soccer match was NBC Sports
    Network's most watched event in history, drawing 4.35 million viewers.
  • Coverage of Team USA men's basketball on NBCSN averaged more than 2.6 million
    viewers, including 3.3 million viewers for the U.S. vs. Argentina game on Aug.
  • NBCSN delivered eleven of its top 12 most-watched days in history during the
  • During the Olympics, NBCSN was the fifth most-watched cable network during
    the 6 a.m.-8 p.m. time period and first among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54.
    The four networks that had more total viewers on cable were Disney, Nick,
    Cartoon Network and Fox News.
  • The London Olympics were the most-watched event ever on NBCSN with 48.9 million
    total viewers.

CNBC averaged 449,000 viewers for its 5-8 p.m. Olympics
coverage, with most of its telecasts being boxing. Bravo, which televised
Olympics tennis, averaged 484,000 viewers. MSNBC, which has televised four Summer
Olympics, had, for the first time, more than one million viewers on a single
day, doing so twice, on Saturday, July 28, when it drew 1.13 million viewers,
and on Sunday, July 29, when it drew 1.07 million viewers. Its most-watched day
from Beijing was 951,000 viewers.