Olympics Wrap: Huge Gains For NBCSN, With Caveat (Also: NBC Late Night, NBC vs. Rivals)

Posted by | February 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Putting a bow on the 2014 Winter Olympics. NBCSN had strong gains for its coverage of the Winter Olympics, NBC had its second-best late night performance since 2002, and despite a near record-low, primetime coverage still dominated the other broadcast networks.

NBCSN Scores Big Increases For Daytime Coverage

  • NBCSN averaged 1.6 million viewers for live coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, up 134% from London in 2012 (692K). Keep in mind the averages — both for Sochi and London — are only for the 6:00 AM-3:00 PM time period. NBCSN’s Sochi coverage typically ran from 3:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the network’s London coverage ran from 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The Sochi Olympics included NBCSN’s highest rated hockey game ever (CAN/USA: 2.7), its most-viewed hockey game (USA/RUS: 4.1M), and its most-viewed program of any kind (ski-jumping, 5.5M).

NBC Has Second-Best Late Night, For Any Olympics, Since 2002

  • Late night coverage of the Olympics averaged 5.6 million viewers on NBC, up 17% from Vancouver in 2010 and up 12% from Turin in 2006. Including the Summer Olympics, the 5.6 million ranks as the second-highest viewer average for that window since Salt Lake City in 2002, trailing only London in 2012 (6.2M).

Despite Low Numbers, Sochi Olympics Dominant in Primetime

  • Though the Sochi Olympics averaged the second-lowest primetime rating ever (12.3), NBC topped its competition on the other three major broadcast networks every single night of the games. By comparison, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was the top draw of the night on 14 of 17 occasions, and the Turin Olympics topped the charts just 8 of 17 times. NBC beat ABC, CBS and FOX combined by 32% in ratings, 45% in viewership, and 51% among adults 18-49 during the Olympics, which the network says is a record.

(Numbers from NBC Sports Group Press Box)

  • Cha-Ka

    Mr. Paulsen that is an astute observation to include the ratings for the Sochi Olympics and how they compared to the 3 major networks broadcasts. In many ways the Olympics are not viewed so much by the meat and potato sports fan (NBA Finals, Final 4, World Series and BCS) as it is by the same demographics that watch network entertainment.

    In other words the biggest competition for Olympic viewership came from American Idol, Bachelor and what other reality programming was being shown. On that score the Olympic coverage trumped Idol and Bachelor. This was not the case in Turin 2006 as Idol , DWS and what ever reality programming topped the nightly ratings.

    A big deal was made when the 2010 Vancouver Olympics ended the long running streak of American Idol winning the nightly ratings. Another show that competed with Olympic viewership was the series finale of Downton Abbey shown Sunday 23 as it had 8.5 million viewers and a 5.4 rating. That was probably a bigger factor in competing for the Closing Ceremony viewers then Daytona 500. Lastly there was one cable show that did beat the Olympics in the 18-49 rating and that was Walking Dead on the two Sunday nights it aired. I am not really sure what if any effect this had on drawing Olympic viewers (Olympics skew older) away such as on the night of the Closing Ceremony when Walking Dead had a 6.6 18-49 rating vs 3.3.

    Again I am not saying sports fans don’t watch the Olympics it’s more the fact many people who have no interest in meat and potato sports watch the Olympics. They may watch the Super Bowl , because it’s a big event that may be buzz worthy thanks to all the extra stuff going outside the actual game.