Viewership increased slightly for coverage of the 2012 London Olympics on the various NBC Universal cable networks.
Coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics averaged 716,000 viewers across NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo — up 2% from coverage on USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and Oxygen in 2008, and up 34% from coverage across USA, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo in 2004.
The cable telecasts barely registered in the Nielsens compared to coverage on the NBC broadcast network, where averages ranged from 5.7 million viewers (early weekend morning telecasts) to 31.1 million (primetime).
Of course, it should be pointed out that there was some ratings cannibalization at play. Coverage on NBCSN aired concurrently with coverage on MSNBC, Bravo (during the first week) and CNBC, and it did not appear as if NBC combined the audiences of the various networks.
Though the numbers were not exactly massive, the Olympics set a few milestones on cable. On NBC Sports Network (previously Versus and OLN), coverage generated five of the largest audiences in network history, including a network record 4.35 million viewers for the United States/Japan women’s soccer gold medal match.
The Olympics also drove NBCSN to eleven of the twelve most-viewed days in the history of the network.
NBC did not provide average viewership for coverage on NBCSN or MSNBC. Bravo, which aired tennis coverage during the first week of the Games, averaged 484,000 viewers. CNBC, which primarily aired boxing, averaged 449,000 for weekday afternoon coverage.
(Olympic numbers from NBC Universal Media Village)