The Beijing Winter Games had the lowest US viewership ever for any Olympics, and a 42% drop from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
New York: The final scores are in, and NBC is no doubt happy to put the Beijing Winter Olympics in the rearview mirror.
The games reached an average combined primetime audience of 11.4 million on NBC, the US cable network and the Peacock streaming service, the network said. This is the lowest US viewership ever for any Olympics, and down 42% from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
For NBC alone, primetime TV shows averaged 9.3 million viewers, 48% less than South Korea, the Nielsen company said.
The games never really captured the public imagination and were hurt by COVID-19 restrictions that forced most NBC announcers to work halfway around the world in Connecticut.
In a diminished world for broadcast television, however, NBC beat every other primetime network for the duration of the Games. Only professional football can say the same this season. The Peacock streaming service, which will undoubtedly play a bigger role in future Olympics, has seen its best usage since the service began, NBC said.
Mark Lazarus, president of NBC Universal television and streaming, said Peacock “delivered a user experience that was significantly improved from just six months ago” during the COVID-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics. .
For the week, NBC averaged 7.2 million prime-time viewers. CBS had 3 million, ABC had 2.7 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Ion Television had 1.3 million, and Telemundo had 1 million.
Fox News Channel was the most popular prime-time cable network, averaging 2.42 million viewers. TNT had 2.01 million, MSNBC had 1.05 million, HGTV had 1.02 million and Hallmark had 968,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.7 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News,” with virtually none of the ratings increases typical of the Olympics, drew 7 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.3 million.