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NBC's first night of Olympic competition is most-watched Summer Olympics opening night on record

by jmaloni
Mon, Jul 30th 2012 09:00 am

NBC's two-day primetime average of 35.6 million viewers is the best start to a Summer Olympics on record

The first night of competition from the London Olympics (8:30-11:28 p.m.) is the most-watched for a Summer Games opening night on record, with 28.7 million average viewers, topping the first night of competition from the 1996 Atlanta Games by more than two million viewers (26.3 million). That night's viewership is nearly five million more than the first night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (24.0 million), and nearly nine million more than the first night of the 2004 Athens Olympics (19.8 million), the last European Olympics.

NBC's two-day primetime average of 35.6 million viewers is the best start to a Summer Olympics on record, more than two million more than Atlanta (33.3 million), and more than six million more viewers than Beijing (29.5 million).

Saturday night's competition on NBC, which featured the first duel between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, earned a 15.8/29 national rating/share, the best for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics opening night in 36 years since Montreal Olympics. The rating is 14 percent higher than the first night of the Beijing Olympics (13.9/27), which featured live coverage of Phelps' first of his eight gold medals.

  • Saturday night's national rating of 15.8/29 is also 34 percent higher than the first night of competition in Athens in 2004 (11.8/23), the last European Olympics.

Average Viewers for 1st Night of Competition (All Summer Games on Record):

1. London - 2012

28.7 Million NBC

2. Atlanta - 1996

26.3 Million NBC

3. Beijing - 2008

24.0 Million NBC

4. Seoul - 1988

23.8 Million NBC

5. Barcelona - 1992

21.6 Million NBC

6. Sydney - 2000

21.0 Million NBC

7. Athens - 2004

19.8 Million NBC


NBC's Daytime and Late Night Viewership Soars:

  • 9:46 a.m.-noon averaged 12.3 million viewers, an increase of 56 percent over the first Saturday morning at the Beijing Games (7.9 million from 10 a.m.-noon). The household rating in this time period (7.9/22) is 49 percent higher than the comparable morning from Beijing (5.3/16).

  • The noon-6 p.m. window drew 14.9 million viewers and a household rating of 9.3/23, an increase of 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively vs. Beijing Games.

  • The early-morning window (5-9:46 a.m.) drew 5.1 million viewers and had a household rating of 3.6/16. There is no comparable coverage for this time period in previous Olympic Games.

  • The late night program (12:30-1:18 a.m.) drew 7.4 million viewers and a household rating of 4.9/15, an increase of 35 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Top 20 Metered Markets for Saturday Night:

1. Salt Lake City

23.9/46

2. San Diego

22.8/43

3. Kansas City

22.4/42

4. Columbus

21.5/39

5. Ft. Myers

21.3/40

6. Milwaukee

20.6/38

7. Denver

20.5/44

8. Indianapolis

20.4/39

9. Sacramento

20.2/41

10. Nashville

19.6/34

11. Oklahoma City

19.2/32

12. St. Louis

18.9/35

13. Richmond

18.7/33

14. Portland

18.5/41

T15. San Francisco

18.4/40

T15. Boston

18.4/36

T17. Norfolk

18.3/30

T17. Albuquerque

18.3/34

T17. Jacksonville

18.3/31

20. Phoenix

18.1/32

NBCUniversal, presenting its 13th Olympics, the most by any U.S. media company, will make an unprecedented 5,535 hours of the 2012 London Olympics coverage available across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, www.NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3D platform, an unprecedented level that surpasses the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly 2,000 hours.

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